Sean O’Keefe was appointed CEO of EADS North America in November 2009 and Chairman of the Board in January 2012. His responsibilities include directing EADS activities in the United States, developing strategic partnerships with U.S. companies, and enhancing the participation of EADS in the U.S. marketplace — including the development, growth, and management of large-scale defense acquisition programs.
Globally, EADS is the parent company of some of the most recognized division brand names in the international aerospace and defense sector, including Airbus, Eurocopter, Astrium, and Cassidian. The company had annual revenues in 2012 of more than $73 billion and employs some 140,000 people worldwide.
Prior to joining EADS North America, Mr. O'Keefe served as a company officer and Vice President of the General Electric Company in the Technology Infrastructure sector, leading the Washington operations of the GE Aviation business. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Chancellor of the Louisiana State University, the chief executive officer, in Baton Rouge, LA.
On four separate occasions Mr. O'Keefe served as a presidential appointee. Prior to leading LSU, he served as the tenth Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Mr. O'Keefe joined President George W. Bush's administration on inauguration day as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget until December 2001, when he was appointed NASA Administrator.
Appointed the 69th Secretary of the Navy in July 1992 by President George H. W. Bush, Mr. O'Keefe previously served as Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Defense from 1989. Before joining then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney's Pentagon management team in these capacities, he served on the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations staff for eight years and was Staff Director of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
Mr. O’Keefe’s public service began in 1978 upon his selection as a Presidential Management Intern. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University in New Orleans in 1977 and his Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in 1978. He is married to Laura McCarthy O'Keefe, and they have three children: Lindsey, Jonathan, and Kevin.
Mr. O’Keefe was appointed in November 2011 as Chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) – America's leading industry association promoting the defense industry and national security. Prior to this appointment, he had served as Vice Chairman of the NDIA’s Executive Committee.
Academic service and fellowships
From 1996-2001 Mr. O’Keefe was the Louis A. Bantle professor of Business and Government Policy at the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Concurrently he served as the Director of National Security Studies, a partnership of Syracuse University and Johns Hopkins University for delivery of executive education programs. From 1993-1996 he was Professor of Business Administration and Assistant to the Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the Pennsylvania State University.
Mr. O'Keefe is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a Fellow of the International Academy of Astronautics, and serves on corporate and non-profit boards of directors including the Board of Trustees of Loyola University. During his academic postings, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Wolfson College of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, a member of the Naval Postgraduate School's civil-military relations seminar team, and conducted seminars for the Strategic Studies Group at Oxford University. He was a member of the 1985 Kennedy School of Government program for national security executives at Harvard University.
Awards and authorship
In 1993, President Bush and Secretary Cheney presented Mr. O’Keefe with the Distinguished Public Service Award. He was the 1999 faculty recipient of the Syracuse University Chancellor's Award for Public Service; recipient of the Department of the Navy's Public Service Award in December 2000; and has been awarded five honorary doctorate degrees from several prestigious educational institutions. In 2003 and 2004, he was recognized and honored by the Irish American Magazine as one of the Top 100 Irish Americans and was named among the magazine's "Stars of the South" in 2006.
Mr. O'Keefe was named recipient of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' 2005 Navigator Award and received the 2005 Honorary Engineer of the Year Award from the Engineer's Council. He was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame in January 2007. Mr. O’Keefe also is a recipient of the Syracuse University George Arents Award, the university’s highest alumni honor, presented annually to alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields.
He is the author of several journal articles and contributing author of Keeping the Edge: Managing Defense for the Future, released in October 2000. In 1998, he co-authored The Defense Industry in the Post-Cold War Era: Corporate Strategies and Public Policy Perspectives.