Northrop picks up new hires as it readies for move


Northrop has been redoing the interior of its 14-story building in Falls Church, as the company prepares to move it headquarters from Los Angeles. (Jeffrey MacMillan/FOR WASHINGTON POST)

Northrop Grumman has taken the first steps to opening its Falls Church headquarters later this year, hiring key executives and putting its insignia on the new building.

With less than 50 percent of its Los Angeles-based corporate staff planning to move, the company expects about half of its roughly 300-person corporate office to be new hires, according to Northrop spokesman Randy Belote.

Belote declined to identify the precise percentage of employees who plan to move, noting that some have not yet had to decide.

The company expects to slim its current corporate staff of about 360 to 300 when it relocates. About half of that staff is slated to be made up of transfers from the West Coast headquarters and corporate staff relocating from Northrop’s Rosslyn office.

So far, the company has named Sid Ashworth, formerly vice president of GE Aviation’s Washington operations and a longtime professional staffer with the Senate Appropriations Committee, vice president of government relations.

It also snatched Sheila C. Cheston from BAE Systems in Arlington to serve as general counsel. Cheston’s experience includes chairing Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering’s international aviation, defense and aerospace group and serving as general counsel of the Air Force.

“When a company moves 3,000 miles, it doesn’t just move furniture. It has to find new executive talent . . . and that’s tough,” said Loren Thompson, a defense industry consultant at the Lexington Institute. “Northrop seems to have made some very savvy choices in its initial” hires.

In Falls Church, the company has gutted made interior renovations to its 14-story building on Route 50 near the Beltway, according to Belote.

The building had an open format so the company is refitting it to include offices as well as gym space and conference areas, he said.

The move is slated to begin in late summer — probably in August — and conclude by early fall, said Belote, who declined to provide specific dates.

He said the move will occur in phases and some of Northrop’s other business sectors will also take up residence in the new building. Belote would not say how many employees will eventually be housed there.

Once relocated, Northrop plans to give up its office in Rosslyn.

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