Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

L-3 CEO Strianese finds crawling around airplanes fun

September 9, 2010

Michael Strianese, President and CEO of L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., is a roll up the sleeves kind of guy who likes nothing better than a close-up look at airplanes and wiring and sensors. And he’s not even an engineer.

“What do I like to do? I like to get down on the factory floor with the guys and crawl around airplanes and look at wiring and figure out how things work. So for somebody with a finance background, I think that surprises people,” he said at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

“I think what might surprise people is I spend a lot of time developing some of the technical solutions on our unmanned systems that we developed internally over the last couple of years,” he said.

The company CEO has had a personal hand in the systems for the Viking 400, Mobius and Project Liberty aircraft.

It might not be fun for an engineer to come into the company’s chief financial officer’s office and deal with numbers and paper — “It’s a lot more fun to crawl around with wires and sensors and things and watch how things work,” Strianese says.

“I just don’t run the company from sitting at a desk in New York City, I really do like to get out and touch and feel the products and meet the people,” he said.  

“And I think our folks that do the work like seeing some of the corporate folks around and recognize that we’re regular people too.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Hyungwon Kang (Strianese at Reuters summit)

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