2008 John E. Anderson Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner
Louise L. Francesconi ('78) is a Raytheon Company vice president. She led the company’s Missile Systems business from 1996 to July, 2008, and has announced that she will retire from Raytheon effective September 1, 2008. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with 2007 sales of $21.3 billion, is a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 72,000 people worldwide.
Headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, Missile Systems has locations in California, New Mexico, Kentucky and Arkansas. Its broad portfolio of weapon systems supports every mission area of its customers, including air-to-air, land combat, naval weapons, strike weapons, missile defense, guided projectiles, and directed energy systems. The business continually develops and invests in new, innovative technologies to provide rapid, high-quality, affordable mission capability to its customers. With a workforce of 12,500 employees and 2007 sales of $5.0 billion, Raytheon Missile Systems is the world’s leading producer of weapon systems for the United States military and the allied forces of more than 40 countries.
A 31-year veteran of the defense industry, Francesconi was elected a vice president of Raytheon and appointed general manager of Missile Systems in November 1999; she was subsequently appointed president in August 2002. Previously, she was a senior vice president of the former Raytheon Systems Company and deputy general manager of the company’s Defense Systems segment.
Francesconi’s expertise in strategic planning, customer focus and operational excellence has been instrumental in making Raytheon Missile Systems the world’s preeminent producer of weapon systems. Under her leadership, the business has earned a number of awards, including the Arizona Quality Alliance’s Governor’s Award for Quality and two Shingo Prizes for Excellence in Manufacturing. Francesconi began her career at Hughes Aircraft Company in 1975 in the company’s financial operations and rose to chief financial officer of Hughes Missile Systems Company (HMSC) in 1993. She was later appointed a Hughes Aircraft vice president and chief operating officer of HMSC, and then was named company president in 1996. She also was a key member of the management team responsible for the acquisition of General Dynamics’ missile business in 1992, and assisted with the subsequent divestiture of Hughes to Raytheon.
Francesconi is a member of the board of directors for Stryker Corporation, a medical technology company. She is also a director of the Tucson Medical Center HealthCare board of trustees and the Tucson Airport Authority. She is a member of the national board of advisors for the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona (UA), and in 2002, was named the Technology Executive of the Year by the Eller College and the UA College of Engineering and Mines. In 2005, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women in Aerospace organization. For three years, Francesconi earned a spot on Fortune magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list.
A California native, Francesconi earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Scripps College in Claremont, California, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Anderson School.