Business & Real Estate

Aerojet Rocketdyne reorganization creates space, defense business units

Aerojet Corp. in Rancho Cordova.
Aerojet Corp. in Rancho Cordova. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

Rocket engine maker Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc., which retains a considerable presence in the Sacramento area, continues to restructure operations, consolidating six business units into two – defense and space.

Aerojet announced its newly formed Defense Business Unit will be based in Huntsville, Ala., along with the company’s Defense Advanced Programs, also known as “the Rocket Shop.”

The company did not name a headquarters for its Space Business Unit, noting that multiple Aerojet sites support its space program, including facilities in Rancho Cordova, Canoga Park and Redmond, Wash.

Aerojet spokesman Glenn Mahone said the reorganization initially involves filling about 40 positions in Huntsville, with some of those posts likely to be filled by Aerojet employees working in the Sacramento area. Aerojet parent Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. employs about 1,500 in Rancho Cordova.

The company also announced that its board of directors has appointed Warren Lichtenstein as executive chairman of the company. Lichtenstein was appointed chairman of the board in 2013.

Eileen Drake, Aerojet president and CEO, said the reorganization “further streamlines our business operations by reducing spans and layers in the organization, while achieving significant cost savings for our customers and the country.”

For now, Aerojet said its space division will report to Drake, and the defense unit will report to Chief Operating Officer Mark Tucker.

Mahone called the latest action part of an ongoing reorganization that began three years ago with the acquisition of Rocketdyne.

Just this month, Aerojet began moving its longtime local headquarters to the Los Angeles County city of El Segundo. That involves only a handful of Aerojet officials moving to Southern California.

The concentration of aerospace firms includes Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Hawthorne, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic in Pasadena and Rocket Lab in Los Angeles. The Southern California grouping of Aerojet customers includes Boeing Co. and Raytheon Co.

Aerojet said major customers in the Huntsville, Ala., region include the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Army, NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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