William H. Swanson (born 1949) is the chairman and chief executive officer of Raytheon Company. Before becoming chairman in January 2004, he was CEO and president of the company. Prior to that he was president of the company, responsible for Raytheon’s government and defense operations, including the four Strategic Business Areas of Missile Defense; Precision Engagement; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); and Homeland Security. Before that, he was a Raytheon executive vice president and president of Electronic Systems.
A native of California, Swanson graduated magna cum laude from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a bachelors degree in industrial engineering. He attended Cal Poly with the assistance of a golf scholarship. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Pepperdine University and currently serves on the Board of Regents of Pepperdine. He was selected as the Outstanding Industrial Engineering Graduate in 1972, and in 1991 was recognized as an Honored Alumnus by California Polytechnic State University College of Engineering. He attended a graduate degree program in business administration at Golden Gate University. Swanson joined Raytheon in 1972 and has held a wide range of leadership positions, including manufacturing manager of the company’s Equipment Division, general manager of the Missile Systems Division's Andover Plant, senior vice president and general manager of the Missile Systems Division, general manager of Raytheon Electronic Systems, and president, chairman and chief executive officer of Raytheon Systems Company.
As a protege of Chairman and CEO Dennis Picard and a long-time Raytheon insider, he was the expected candidate to succeed the retiring chairman in the late 90's. However, Daniel Burnham, an outsider, was elected to succeed Dennis Picard as Chairman and CEO. Financial reporting controversies and lagging company performance caused Burnham to retire early from the company. Swanson was then elevated to his current position.