The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) today named former Exelis CEO and retired three-star general David Melcher as its new president and CEO, effective June 8. He succeeds Marion Blakey, who stepped down earlier this year to become president and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America.
Melcher served 32 years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of lieutenant general, before joining ITT Corp. in August 2008 as vice president of strategy and business development of its defense and information solutions segment. He was appointed president of ITT Defense in December 2008 and served in that capacity until ITT spun off Exelis as an independent company in 2011. Melcher then became Exelis president and CEO.
Last month, Harris Corp. completed the previously announced acquisition of Exelis in a stock transaction valued at $4.6 billion. Exelis, with headquarters in McLean, Va., is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Melbourne, Fla.-based Harris, a communications and technology supplier to the U.S. government and commercial customers.
Announcing Melcher’s appointment as AIA chief executive, GE Aviation CEO David Joyce, the association’s chairman, said: “Dave is an exceptional leader who, with his balance of corporate and military experience, brings an outstanding record of executive achievement to AIA. With Dave’s guidance, AIA will continue to champion the aerospace and defense industry and its ability to advance innovation in civil aviation, space and defense.”
Arnold Punaro, chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), issued a statement praising the appointment. “Dave’s battle-tested track record of successful leadership, in uniform and out, will serve AIA and our entire industry well,” he said. “We at NDIA look forward to continuing our close relationship with AIA and working with Dave and his team to ensure that the men and women of the Department of Defense continue to remain the best trained and best equipped military in the world."