Since Leidos launched in September, Darryl Durrington thinks of it as the “newest, biggest start-up.”

The company is one of two corporate entities created when Science Applications International Corp. split in two. Now, Durrington, Leidos’s talent acquisition director for its health and engineering sector, is working to bring a new leader into the company who would serve as group chief financial and administrative officer for the engineering solutions team, which has 4,000 employees and pulls in $800 million annually.

Durrington spoke with Capital Business about the job. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What will this person be doing on a day-to-day basis?

This is not part of the C-suite. This is a senior role in the engineering solutions group, acting almost like a deputy to the group president. This individual will be responsible for setting the strategic direction, the tactical direction of the organization and working directly with the group president and the different leaders of the organization to make sure that we’re running things smoothly. I think with a financial officer, you often think of someone who’s a bean-counter type. This is not that. This is really more of an operational person.

Is this a new position? Does its creation have anything to do with the split from SAIC?

We have a fairly new group president, and this is a role that he felt was necessary to help him in terms of running the business. The role’s new, but it’s not new because of the split.

What qualifications are
you looking for?

This business operates within oil and gas, utilities and design-build areas. The key with this position is to come from that market, where you’re familiar with the engineering and construction business. This is not something where we’re looking for someone who has come from a traditional defense contractor world.

What kind of person would thrive in this position?

We’re a brand new company, and we need to make sure we are thinking outside the box. We have a long history of outstanding performance and excellence, but we need to take it to the next level. This is a different market. Most people, when they think of Leidos or former SAIC, never really think about the engineering and construction world. I think you mostly think of defense contracting and intelligence work. This is going to take an individual who can understand the business and can understand the legacy of what we’ve done in the past.

What’s the hardest part of this job?

Understanding the complexities of some of the deals that we structure. It is not only the architecture and engineering piece, it’s the construction piece, the environmental demands, and often, state and local government demands. So all these different facets have to be understood and have to be put into the project plan.