Word leaked earlier this month that Raytheon, in the process of merging with United Technologies to create the world’s second-largest defense contractor, is changing up its operations to blend its Integrated Defense and Missile Systems units.
Which is all well and good, except the headquarters of this new unit will be in Tucson, Arizona, where the company employs 13,000 people and has plans to create an additional 2,000 jobs, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
The Integrated Defense operation, maker of the Patriot Missile, is now based in Tewksbury and has a large factory just down the road in Andover. The local shop also employs thousands of people.
Not a year after Philips Healthcare sold its Merrimack Valley campus, having shifted its North American headquarters from Andover to Cambridge, could this signal the departure of another of the region’s marquee employers?
Raytheon hasn’t talked openly about it, but outward indications are that this is only an organizational change and a distinction of where it plants its flag.
The news site TucsonSentinel.com reported on an internal email that the change in headquarters sites would not result in “many (if any) personnel relocations.”
A letter to employees from Raytheon Missile Systems President Wesley Kremer noted the company “remains fully committed” to its operations in a half dozen states — including Massachusetts.
In fact, Town Manager Andrew Flanagan reports that the company has been considering a local expansion.
We’ll also take comfort in the fact that the combined company, to be called Raytheon Technologies Corp., will be headquartered somewhere in eastern Massachusetts — already the home to the lager Raytheon Co.
As far as prestige goes, that’s certainly the bigger honor.