Kelly Ayotte named new chair of BAE Systems Inc.

Ex-senator elected to three-year term to head board of U.S, arm of defense giant
Kelly Ayotte

Kelly Ayotte

Former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte has been elected the new chair of board of directors of BAE Systems Inc., the U.S. arm of the U.K.-based multinational defense and aerospace contracting giant.

Ayotte, who has served on the company’s board since 2017, succeeds former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and will serve a three-year term.

“As a board member, Senator Ayotte’s substantial experience in national defense and security have helped guide our work to support our customers’ most critical missions,” said Tom Arseneault, president and CEO of BAE Systems Inc. “We look forward to the leadership and stewardship she will provide in this expanded role as Chair of our Board.”

BAE Systems is New Hampshire’s largest manufacturing employer, with facilities in Nashua, Merrimack, Hudson and Manchester.

BAE Systems Inc. operates under a Special Security Agreement that also involves the U.S. government and BAE Systems plc, its U.K. parent corporation.

The agreement calls for the appointment of outside directors who help to oversee the company’s compliance with U.S. security and export regulations and allows BAE to supply products and services to the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, Homeland Security, and other federal agencies.

Besides Ayotte and Chertoff, other outside members of the BAE Systems Inc. board are: John F. Campbell, former commander if U.S. forces in Afghanistan; Jonathan W. Greenert, former chief of U.S. Naval operations; former CIA Director Gina Haspel; Patrick J. Murphy, former congressman and Army undersecretary; Michael G. Vickers, former defense undersecretary for intelligence; and Stephen W. Wilson, a retired Air Force general.

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