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Rockwell Collins' Clay Jones To Retire On July 31

Kelly Ortberg To Be Named CEO

The Chairman and CEO of Rockwell Collins told his board Friday that he plans to retire as CEO effective July 31, after almost 34 years of service. Rockwell Collins President Kelly Ortberg, 52, is expected to succeed Jones as CEO at that time. Jones will remain on the company’s board of directors as non-executive chairman.

“This decision was made as part of a carefully orchestrated succession planning process that has been implemented over the past several years,” Jones (pictured) said. “Our focus on developing talent has ensured Kelly is well-prepared to assume this new responsibility. Kelly has played an instrumental role in shaping our company’s strategies and has demonstrated the ability to deliver results even in the most challenging environments. With his track record of proven performance and leadership, strong customer relationships, and an extensive knowledge of our company and industry, I’m highly confident in Kelly’s ability to lead Rockwell Collins to new levels of success and expansion.”

Ortberg was appointed president of Rockwell Collins in September 2012. He previously served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Government Systems, where he helped lead major program wins, including capturing avionics business on the KC-46A, KC-10 and the Embraer KC-390. He also has served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Commercial Systems, during which time he oversaw the company’s development programs for the Boeing 787, Airbus A350 and Bombardier C-Series. Additionally, he led the launch of the company’s Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system, which has been selected for more than 15 aircraft platforms since its introduction in 2007. He joined the company in 1987.

“Rockwell Collins is an outstanding company with a bright future,” said Ortberg (pictured). “Our balanced and integrated business model, combined with a commitment to operational excellence, focus on delivering superior customer value, and highly talented and motivated employees, has proven an effective recipe for success. I’m excited to build on those strengths in the years ahead as we work toward achieving the full potential of Rockwell Collins.”

His pending retirement notwithstanding, Jones said in an interview Friday that the industry should have a greater role in the certification of new airplanes and their systems as a way to help make the process more efficient.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Jones said the knowledge gap between regulators and manufacturers has grown over the past decade, and continues to widen. He called on the FAA to shift more of the certification process over to the industry. He said that even prior to sequestration, the FAA did not have the resources it needs to keep pace with the introduction of new products for aircraft. He said that industry will always be ahead of the regulators, and that the manufacturing sector has a responsibility "to work with them and give them comfort."

Jones' remarks came at nearly the same time as the FAA approved the battery re-design for Boeing's Dreamliner. The planemaker played a significant role in self-certifying the battery system that eventually led to the grounding of the fleet in January.



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