Business & Real Estate

Sacramento area rocket engine maker GenCorp hires chief operating officer

GenCorp Inc. beefed up its management ranks Monday, two weeks after the head of its Aerojet Rocketdyne subsidiary left the company.

The Rancho Cordova rocket-engine manufacturer announced that it hired a new chief operating officer, Eileen Drake, who previously ran a key division at defense and aerospace conglomerate United Technologies Corp.

Drake will report to GenCorp Chief Executive Scott Seymour, who is pulling double duty. In mid-February, the company confirmed the departure of Aerojet’s president, Warren Boley Jr., and said he would be replaced by Seymour.

Drake’s hiring “gives him some bench strength,” said Glenn Mahone, spokesman for GenCorp.

The company hasn’t said why Boley left, but noted that Seymour had run the Aerojet business from 2010 to 2012. Reuters news service, quoting anonymous sources, said Boley and Seymour “had differences about the company’s future.” Boley left four months after an unmanned NASA rocket with engines modified by Aerojet exploded upon takeoff in Virginia.

At United Technologies, Drake was president of the Pratt & Whitney AeroPower auxiliary power unit and small turbojet propulsion business.

GenCorp purchased the Rocketdyne business from United Technologies and Pratt & Whitney in 2013 for $550 million, merging it with Aerojet. The Aerojet unit accounts for the vast majority of GenCorp’s business.

GenCorp shares closed Monday at $19.48, up 18 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange. The Drake hiring was announced just after the market closed.

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.