HII names new president and CEO
Chris Kastner was appointed COO in February 2021
Christopher D. Kastner will become president and CEO of Newport News-based Huntington Ingalls Industries, the nation’s largest military shipbuilder, on March 1. Mike Petters, who has served as the Fortune 500 company’s president and CEO since Northrop Grumman Corp. spun off its shipbuilding division in 2011, will become executive vice chairman of the board for a transition period, the company announced Friday.
“We’ve spent the past 11 years building a company for the 21st century,” said Petters, who will remain with HII through 2022. “HII is now that company, with a leadership team and portfolio to serve our nation’s critical national security needs. I am proud of the work we have done together and excited to watch the company fulfill its promise. I have complete confidence in Chris and the senior leadership team in this next chapter.”
Kastner became HII’s chief operating officer in February 2021 and previously served as the company’s chief financial officer and executive vice president since 2016. Prior to becoming HII’s CFO, Kastner was vice president and CFO for HII’s Pascagoula, Mississippi-based Ingalls Shipbuilding division. He was also vice president, business management, and CFO for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Gulf Coast, and vice president, contracts and risk management, for Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.
Kastner holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He sits on the board of trustees for Eastern Virginia Medical School and serves as treasurer on the board of directors for WHRO Public Media.
His appointment to HII’s top position was part of the company’s multiyear succession plan, HII’s board of directors said in a statement.
“Given HII’s support for national security, the company takes business continuity extremely seriously,” said Kirk Donald, chairman of HII’s board. “We are grateful to Mike for his immeasurable contribution to the nation, and for what is now a supremely responsible leadership handoff. The entire board joins me in congratulating Chris as he takes the helm of HII. The company’s workforce and customers can be confident that HII’s work will carry on with the same great sense of mission and service to our customers and our country.”
HII is the nation’s largest military shipbuilding company, with more than 44,000 employees worldwide. More than 20,000 of those employees work for HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division, the state’s largest industrial employer. HII reported 2020 revenue of $9.36 billion and reported $2.3 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2021. The company presently has a $48 billion shipbuilding backlog.
HII is preparing the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the first of the new Gerald R. Ford class of nuclear powered U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, for deployment this fall. Newport News Shipbuilding is also fitting out the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) and constructing the USS Enterprise (CVN-80) and the USS Doris Miller (CVN-81).