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Huntington Ingalls names successor to longtime CEO

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has decided to promote chief operating officer (COO) Christopher Kastner to president and CEO as part of a leadership succession process, the US shipbuilder announced on 28 January.

Longtime president and CEO Mike Petters, 62, who has led HII for over a decade, will stay on as executive vice-chairman of the board of directors “for a transition period”, the company said. Kastner and Petters will begin their new roles on 1 March.

HII credited the pair with “nurturing the company's current USD48 billion shipbuilding backlog” and steering “its recent technology-oriented acquisitions to strengthen and broaden the capabilities HII delivers to customers”.

Kastner, 58, has been COO since February 2021. He was previously HII's chief financial officer (CFO). He has also been CFO of HII's Ingalls Shipbuilding division.

Based in Newport News, Virginia, HII is the only US manufacturer of aircraft carriers and one of only two US builders of nuclear-powered submarines. It also produces amphibious assault and transport ships, destroyers, coastguard cutters, and unmanned systems.

HII's recent acquisitions include buying Alion Science and Technology for USD1.65 billion in 2021 to enhance its portfolio in such growing areas as artificial intelligence, big data, C5ISR, electronic warfare, and training and simulation. “The future of the navy is going to be platforms plus, and we need to be engaged in the plus side of this to make it successful,” Petters said while discussing the Alion purchase.

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