Battelle’s board of directors announced on July 14 that Lewis “Lou” Von Thaer has been selected as president and CEO of Battelle, the ninth CEO in the company’s 87-year history. Von Thaer, who has extensive leadership experience in diverse markets including engineering, intelligence, and other federal contracting sectors, will officially begin his new role on October 1, 2017. He comes to Columbus, OH-based Battelle from DynCorp International, where he has served as CEO since July 2015.
Von Thaer will succeed Jeff Wadsworth, Battelle’s president and CEO since January 2009. Wadsworth is retiring after serving two additional years beyond his original retirement date to ensure strength of operations, implementation of a long-term growth strategy, and an orderly succession planning process. He will assist Von Thaer with the leadership transition through the end of the year and will consult on projects for the company as needed.
“I am thrilled that we are able to welcome Lou to the Battelle family,” Wadsworth said. “He is an innovative problem solver who brings nearly 35 years of engineering and management experience in technology development and deployment to solve complex national security and societal issues. Lou has led large organizations and helped them succeed in rapidly changing environments. He will be a tremendous asset to Battelle.”
“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Jeff for his years of dedicated service to Battelle, not just as CEO but also in his previous roles as executive vice president of Laboratory Operations and lab director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” Battelle board chairman John Welch said. “The outlook for the company is very strong and we are excited that Lou will be joining the team to build upon our many successes.”
Von Thaer began his technology career with AT&T Bell Laboratories, serving in a number of engineering and management roles with increasing responsibilities over 14 years, until the purchase of his division by General Dynamics. During his 16 years at General Dynamics, Von Thaer rose to the position of president, Advanced Information Systems and was named a corporate officer. In 2013 he joined Leidos, Inc. as president of the company’s National Security Sector, a $4 billion business focused on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber, logistics, and systems solutions. Most recently, Von Thaer was CEO at DynCorp, a $2 billion company with 12,000 employees. As CEO, he was responsible for driving growth across several federal market sectors including aviation services, intelligence solutions, logistics and contingency operations, and operations and maintenance support.
“I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead Battelle,” Von Thaer said. “This company has such a strong reputation for solving the toughest challenges of today and delivering world-class results for clients and I cannot wait to join this fantastic team.”
Von Thaer holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers University. He serves as a member of the Defense Science Board and participates on the Board of Directors for the National Intelligence University Foundation and the Transition Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). He also serves as a trustee at Kansas State University.