The exodus has begun. Eleven days before Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Aug. 22 deadline to begin operations at its new global headquarters in Falls Church, employees are moving to the 14-story building in Fairview Park.
Some of the departments involved in the first phase of the move include the defense contractor’s corporate communications staff. Spokesman Randy Belote said he will move to his new office Aug. 18. Altogether, the building will house about 500 corporate and business employees, with some workers not opting to move from Northrop Grumman’s current headquarters in Los Angeles. The company told the Washington Post that it is hiring 186 people from the Northern Virginia area to round out a corporate staff of about 400. About 214 of those positions are people relocating from the West Coast and staff moving from an office in Rosslyn. Another 100 are coming from various business sectors, including aerospace, electronics and information systems units.
The move to Virginia allows the company to reduce its corporate staff, said Belote, thereby helping it meet cost reduction/affordability goals. To celebrate its new location, Northrop Grumman will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. that Gov. Bob McDonnell is scheduled to attend.
The relocation comes at a time when the company’s biggest client, the U.S. government, is cutting defense spending, and troop reductions are occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to current rankings, Northrop Grumman will become Virginia’s largest publicly traded company. The company reported annual revenues of $34.7 billion in 2010, ranking 72nd on the Fortune 500 list. Currently, the largest Virginia company on the list is General Dynamics at 86th.
Northrop Grumman doesn’t expect to do as well this year. By the end of the second quarter, the company had reported a 10 percent drop in sales to $6.5 billion and a 27 percent drop in profit to $520 million ($1.81 a share), compared to the same period a year ago. It said it expects 2011 sales to be about $27 billion, reflecting reduced government outlays and troop reductions overseas.
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