Rockwell Collins CEO to retire; Dubuque native likely successor - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Rockwell Collins CEO to retire; Dubuque native likely successor

Clay Jones Clay Jones
Kelly Ortberg Kelly Ortberg

Rockwell Collins announced Friday morning that CEO Clay Jones will retire effective July 31 after nearly 34 years with the company.

Kelly Ortberg, 52, a Dubuque native, is expected to succeed the 64-year-old Jones.

"This decision was made as part of a carefully orchestrated succession planning process that has been implemented over the past several years," said Jones in a written statement. "Our focus on developing talent has ensured Kelly is well-prepared to assume this new responsibility."

Jones joined Rockwell Collins in 1979 after serving as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He became president in 1999 and then CEO in 2001.

After leading Rockwell Collins through their first public offering in 2001, he became chairman in 2002. During Jones' career, Rockwell Collins grew annual revenues from $2.5 billion to nearly $5 billion and increased shareholder value by almost 200 percent.

Jones will remain on the company's board of directors as non-executive chairman.

Ortberg joined Rockwell Collins in 1987. During his time at the company, he has served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Government Systems and Commercial Systems. He also led the launch of the Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system. He became president of Rockwell Collins in September 2012.

"Kelly has played an instrumental role in shaping our company's strategies and has demonstrated the ability to deliver results even in the most challenging environments," said Jones in a written statement. "With his track record of proven performance and leadership, strong customer relationships, and an extensive knowledge of our company and industry, I'm highly confident in Kelly's ability to lead Rockwell Collins to new levels of success and expansion."

Ortberg earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Iowa and currently serves on the Engineering Advisory Board at the University of Iowa.

"Rockwell Collins is an outstanding company with a bright future," said Ortberg in a written statement. "Our balanced and integrated business model, combined with a commitment to operational excellence, focus on delivering superior customer value, and highly talented and motivated employees, has proven an effective recipe for success. I'm excited to build on those strengths in the years ahead as we work toward achieving the full potential of Rockwell Collins."

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