Northrop Grumman chief sees message in moving HQ to East Coast

September 8, 2010

Northrop Grumman CEO and President Wes Bush (no relation to the former president) says there’s a message in moving the company headquarters across the country to a suburb of  Washington from Los Angeles.

“I absolutely believe it’s something that we need to do and will be very good for our company,” Bush said at a Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

“To be direct about it, this is one of the smaller operations that we’re moving in the company. We say yes it’s a very important operation, it’s the corporate headquarters, but it’s several hundred people out of 120,000 people in the corporation.”

The company’s headquarters will move to Falls Church, Virginia, with the goal of starting operations at its new location in summer 2011. Northrop has gone through the process of identifying who will move and which jobs will be filled with local hires, Bush said. 

“We’re a company that manages programs and so we’re running this like a program.”

The initial announcement about moving to the East Coast from the West Coast came as a surprise to many, but Bush, who took the helm of the firm in January, says it did get a certain message across.

“I’m not sure I’d measure it in popularity,” he said.

“But I think the important message that it transmitted was that there are a number of things we need to get done as a company. When we know we need to get something done, we’re going to move on and get it done. We’re not going to wait and assess, we’re going to move out.”

But even as Northrop irons out details about moving to its new HQ home, there was a bit of awkwardness last month when a hardware glitch resulted in a computer outage in Virginia’s computer network related to a Northrop contract.

“I see us moving forward on a good footing to make this a very good outcome for the state of Virginia,” Bush said.

(Our own two cents — Washington may not be as lively as L.A., but the traffic’s probably better…)

Photo credit: Reuters/Hyungwon Kang (Wes Bush at Reuters summit)

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