William H. Swanson

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William H. Swanson

William H. Swanson (born 1949) is the former chairman and CEO of Raytheon Company (2004 -2014).[1]


A native of California, Swanson graduated magna cum laude from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering. He attended Cal Poly with the assistance of a golf scholarship.[2] He was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Pepperdine University and served on the Board of Regents of Pepperdine. He was selected as the Outstanding Industrial Engineering Graduate in 1972, and in 1991 was recognized as an Honored Alumnus by California Polytechnic State University College of Engineering. He attended a graduate degree program in business administration at Golden Gate University.



Swanson joined Raytheon in 1972 and held a wide range of leadership positions, including manufacturing manager of the company’s Equipment Division, general manager of the Missile Systems Division's Andover Plant, senior vice president and general manager of the Missile Systems Division, general manager of Raytheon Electronic Systems, and president, chairman and chief executive officer of Raytheon Systems Company.

Before becoming chairman of Raytheon in January 2004, Swanson was CEO and president of the company. Prior to that he was president of the company, responsible for Raytheon’s government and defense operations, including the four Strategic Business Areas of Missile Defense; Precision Engagement; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); and Homeland Security. Before that, he was a Raytheon executive vice president and president of Electronic Systems.

As a protégé of Chairman and CEO Dennis Picard and a long-time Raytheon insider, he was the expected candidate to succeed the retiring chairman in the late 1990s. However, Daniel Burnham, an outsider, was elected to succeed Dennis Picard as Chairman and CEO. After Burnham completed a five-year contract with Raytheon, Swanson was elevated to his position.

Swanson stepped down from the CEO position in March 2014 and retired from Raytheon entirely in September 2014. He was succeeded by Dr. Thomas A. Kennedy, who had previously served as Raytheon's Chief Operating Officer.[3]

Honors and associations[edit]

Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management and plagiarism[edit]

Swanson released a short work called Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management, thirty three sound-bite rules, including the comparatively well known "Waiter Rule".

On April 24, 2006, in a statement[11] released by Raytheon, Swanson admitted to plagiarism in claiming authorship for his booklet, "Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management," after being exposed by an article in The New York Times. On May 2, 2006, Raytheon withdrew distribution of the book.[12] On May 3, 2006, Raytheon punished Swanson by reducing his compensation by approximately $1 million for publishing what was "later found to have been taken from a 1944 engineering classic, The Unwritten Laws of Engineering, by W. J. King."[13] Further investigation by the Boston Herald revealed that Swanson had also copied some of the rules from former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld[14] and columnist Dave Barry.[15]

The Boston Globe, the major newspaper in Raytheon's home town, reported "the move was largely symbolic given Swanson's robust $7 million pay package in 2005."[16]


  1. ^ http://www.raytheon.com/rtnwcm/groups/public/documents/profile/bio_swanson.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ Reference for Business William H. Swanson 1949— Biography
  3. ^ "Raytheon: Raytheon Announces William H. Swanson to Step Down as Chief Executive Officer; Board appoints Dr. Thomas A. Kennedy Chief Executive Officer Effective March 31, 2014; Board also appoints Dr. Kennedy to the Raytheon Company Board of Directors Effective Janu".
  4. ^ List of Directors Archived 2006-04-23 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Board of Directors Archived 2007-05-24 at the Wayback Machine Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation
  6. ^ "California State University and Cal Poly Award Raytheon Co. CEO Honorary Doctorate" (Press release). California Polytechnic State University. May 27, 2005. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-15.
  7. ^ Board members chosen for Greenway Conservancy Archived 2006-09-26 at the Wayback Machine, a press release from the Boston Redevelopment Authority
  8. ^ appointment to board of regents at Pepperdine
  9. ^ "Raytheon's biography of William H. Swanson" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-01.
  10. ^ Engineers Week 2011 is February 20-26, announcement from the National Engineers Week Foundation
  11. ^ "Raytheon Chairman & CEO Comments Regarding 'Unwritten Rules'". Raytheon News Release. Retrieved 2006-05-02.
  12. ^ "Raytheon halts distribution of controversial booklet by CEO". AP/Boston.com. 2006-05-02. Archived from the original on March 4, 2007. Retrieved 2006-05-02.
  13. ^ Leslie Wayne (2006-05-03). "Raytheon Punishes Chief Executive for Lifting Text". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-05-03.
  14. ^ http://www.rumsfeldsrules.com/[dead link]
  15. ^ "What Is The Price Of Plagiarism?". CBS News. Archived from the original on May 25, 2006.
  16. ^ Robert Weisman (2006-05-04). "CEO gets $1m slap for misuse of maxims". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2006-05-10. (Subscription for full article)

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Daniel P. Burnham
CEO of Raytheon
2003– 2014
Succeeded by