Exelis Inc., was a global aerospace, defense, information and services company created in October 2011 as a result of the spinoff of ITT Corporation's defense business into an independent, publicly traded company. The company was headquartered in Tysons Corner, Virginia, USA and was led by CEO and President David F. Melcher. The Washington Post highlighted Exelis as a top company in the Washington, D.C. region in 2011. It was acquired by the Harris Corporation for $4.75 billion in 2015.
For more detailed company history prior to October 31, 2011, see ITT Corporation
Exelis Inc. was one of three major companies that made up ITT Corporation, a company that provided numerous communications, defense and water services. ITT was founded as the small communications company Puerto Rico Telephone Company by brothers Sosthenes and Hernan Behn. Through a series of business and patent acquisitions, the company grew and was renamed International Telephone and Telegraph in 1920. ITT continued to grow before appointing Harold Geneen as CEO in 1959.Until his retirement from the position in 1977, Geneen was responsible for growing the company from a medium-sized business earning $765 million in 1961 to an international conglomerate making $17 billion in sales in 1970. The company acquired more than 350 companies during Geneen’s tenure; at one point the acquisition rate reached one deal per week. Ownership extended over such notable companies as Continental Baking, maker of Wonder Bread and the Twinkie, Sheraton Hotels and Avis Rent-A-Car. For a brief period in the mid-1960s, ITT was in talks to acquire the ABC television and radio networks in the USA, but that deal fell through under regulatory scrutiny. Following Geneen’s retirement, ITT went through a restructuring phase under CEO Rand Araskog and was split into three companies in 1995: ITT Corporation (formerly ITT Industries), Starwood Hotels and Resorts and The Hartford Financial Services Group, an insurance company.
On January 12, 2011, the ITT Corporation Board of Directors approved a plan to split the company. On October 31, 2011, ITT Corporation spun off its defense and water technology businesses to form three separate, publicly traded companies:
From the spin off to Nov. 1, 2013, Exelis was known as ITT Exelis to help ease the transition of the company's brand. Exelis employed approximately 19,000 people and generated $5.5 billion in sales in 2012.
In February 2015, Exelis announced that plans had been approved for the sale of the company through a cash/stock purchase to competitor Harris Corporation. The purchase price of 4.75 billion dollars was reported as being one of the highest such defense company purchases, since the Lockheed/Martin merger. When finalized in June 2015, the purchase was expected to make Harris/Exelis one of the top 10 defense contractors in the United States.
Exelis had six businesses that specialize in different technologies and services.
Located in Salt Lake City, Utah the Exelis Aerostructures business is a designer and manufacturer of lightweight composite aerospace structures, subassemblies and components.
Headquartered in Clifton, New Jersey, with a major division in Salt Lake City, Utah, the electronics systems division of the company offers a variety of electronic warfare and surveillance technologies, including air traffic control technology for both military and domestic use, radar and sonar systems, antennas and signal-jamming devices to disarm improvised explosive devices (IED).
With facilities located in Clifton, New Jersey and Rochester, New York, the geospatial systems division manufactures and provides GPS technology (Clifton), surveillance systems (Rochester) and data encryption services, as well as remote sensing and navigation technology.
Major Products and Solutions:
The information systems division is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. The division specializes in creating secure information and electronics systems for specific and often challenging environments, including defense and intelligence missions, the Census Bureau, homeland security, air traffic control and space missions.
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado., Mission systems provides facilities, engineering, logistics and security support for U.S. military bases domestically and abroad.
Located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Roanoke, Virginia, Exelis Night Vision & Communications Solutions (NVCS) provides products and services for secure voice and data communications, battlefield situational awareness, and night vision systems in the global defense, security, and battlefield management sectors.
Exelis Action Corps is the company’s volunteer-service program designed to create large-scale, team and individual volunteer activities and projects to support and engage service members, veterans and their families in local communities. Activities can range from providing interviewing coaching to a military service member, to painting a house for a disabled veteran, to tutoring the children of a service member serving abroad.
Customers currently include:
The company also has clients in more than 50 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, as well as Australia.