Science Applications International Corp. CEO Nazzic Keene is retiring from her position and the company’s board. Toni Townes-Whitley, a 35-year global technology veteran, will succeed her as CEO starting Oct. 2.
Townes-Whitley will also join the SAIC board of directors upon assuming the role.
“I have known, respected and admired Toni for years and am thrilled to welcome her to our SAIC family,” Keene said. “I am proud of all we have accomplished for our customers and colleagues during my tenure at SAIC, and I am excited to work alongside Toni in the coming months to ensure we don’t miss a beat in driving sustained growth and performance.”
Townes-Whitley will officially join SAIC on June 12 as CEO-elect and Keene will continue as CEO through Oct. 1. Then, Keene will serve as special executive advisor to Townes-Whitley and the company through Feb. 2.
“I am honored to bring my passion for driving our nation’s digital transformation to this extraordinary company that is positioned at the intersection of mission critical government programs at a time of evolving, multi-dimensional global threats,” Townes-Whitley said. “SAIC is on a solid growth trajectory with an expanding solutions portfolio, positive financial trends and a culture of serving its customers with integrity, and I look forward to building on the company’s momentum.”
Keene joined SAIC in 2012. She was named CEO and to the board of directors in 2019. During her tenure, Keene aligned the company’s portfolio with areas of increasing customer demand. SAIC generated approximately 30% of revenue from its growth and technology accelerants with the goal of reaching 40% of revenue by fiscal year 2026.
Under her leadership, SAIC also advanced diversity, equity and inclusion, increasing the company’s leadership in people of color by 21% over the last three years.
Keene is also passionate about the company’s philanthropic efforts and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She was named a WashingtonExec Top Exec to Watch in 2020 and won WashingtonExec’s Chief Officer Award for Public Company CEO in 2021.
In an interview with WashingtonExec, Keene shared her journey from moving to the U.S. from Tripoli, Libya, after its revolution in late 1960, to finding her place in the GovCon world and eventually, CEO.
“The sense of purpose and the excitement and the enthusiasm when I talk to colleagues in SAIC about not just the job they do, not just the technology that they might develop or implement, it really is around the impact that each individual can make in serving our nation’s missions,” she told WashingtonExec. “And it is something that is inspiring.”
Taking the reins later this year, Townes-Whitley brings experience in driving strong enterprise financial results and fostering an inclusive culture focused on entrepreneurship and high performance. She served most recently as president of U.S. regulated industries at Microsoft, leading the company’s U.S. sales strategy to drive digital transformation in the public sector and regulated commercial industries.
In doing so, she oversaw education, financial services, government and health care, and managed a 5,200-person organization with roughly $16 billion of annual revenue. Before Microsoft, Townes-Whitley was president of CGI Federal and held management roles at Unisys Corp.
“We thank Nazzic for her tremendous contributions and dedication to SAIC, which resulted in greater opportunities for our employees, improved outcomes for our customers and increased value for our shareholders,” said SAIC Board Chair Donna Morea. “The Board’s selection of her successor is the result of a thorough and thoughtful CEO succession planning process to identify the right leader to accelerate the momentum built over the four years of Nazzic’s leadership. Toni is an innovative and collaborative leader whose success in digital transformation and leading-edge technology integration makes her our clear choice to lead SAIC’s next chapter.”