Clay Jones Retiring as Rockwell Collins CEO

By George Ford, Reporter

Rockwell Collins CEO Clay Jones speaks during Gov. Terry Branstad's visit to Rockwell Collins Wednesday, May 9, 2012, to kick off the state�s �Operation: Thank You� initiative in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Clay Jones plans to retire as chief executive officer of Rockwell Collins on July 31 of this year, ending nearly 34 years with the avionics and communications company.

Jones will continue on the Cedar Rapids company's board of directors as non-executive chairman.

Dubuque native Kelly Ortberg, president of Rockwell Collins, is expected to succeed Jones as CEO of the Cedar Rapids company. Ortberg, formerly executive vice president and chief operating officer of the company's Government Systems division, was named president in September 2012.

"This decision was made as part of a carefully orchestrated succession planning process that has been implemented over the past several years," Jones said. "Our focus on developing talent has ensured Kelly is well-prepared to assume this new responsibility."

Ortberg joined Rockwell Collins in 1987 and helped lead major program wins for Government Systems, 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 the Commercial Systems division, where he oversaw the company’s development programs for the Boeing 787, Airbus A350 and Bombardier C-Series.

Jones joined Rockwell International in 1979 after serving in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot. He was appointed president of Rockwell Collins in January 1999, and became CEO in June 2001 after leading the company through its initial public offering.

Jones was named chairman of Rockwell Collins in 2002. During his tenure, Jones oversaw the growth of Rockwell Collins from $2.5 billion in annual revenues to become a nearly $5 billion company, while increasing total shareholder value by more than 200 percent.

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