The joint Boeing/Lockheed Martin firm, the United Launch Alliance (ULA), which operates Atlas V and Delta IV launches for the US Government has changed its leadership. In a surprise move, Michael Gass, current President and CEO of the firm has been replaced by Tony Bruno, an executive currently with Lockheed Martin. Gass who has served in the role of CEO for over seven years, had been due to retire at the end of the year, but the firm thought that it would be wiser to allow the new CEO to take over the reins earlier and benefit from a gentler hand over. Gass is using his final months at the firm to advise his successor.
ULA faces some tough business decisions as it fights its corner to retain its US government launch business. Relative newcomer Space Exploration Technologies (Space X) has filed legal complaints over the US Air Force decision to carry on with a “block buy” of government launches from ULA despite cheaper prices being offered by SpaceX.