Science Applications CEO Nazzic Keene leaves

  • After about four years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Keene
  • Toni Townes-Whitley taking over
  • Keene said 62 words

(exechange) — Reston, Virginia, May 18, 2023 — Nazzic Keene, chief executive of Science Applications, leaves her position. As announced by Science Applications International Corp. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, May 18, 2023, Nazzic S. Keene leaves her post as chief executive officer at the technology and defense contractor, after about four years in the role, effective October 2, 2023.

Nazzic Keene’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Toni Townes-Whitley, most recently President, U.S. Regulated Industries at Microsoft Corporation.

The fact that Nazzic Keene’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

“Result of a thorough and thoughtful CEO succession planning process”

The planned management change is explained as follows. SAIC Board Chair Donna Morea stated: “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. 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.”

Precise information regarding Nazzic Keene’s future plans was not immediately available.


Science Applications said: “Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) today announced the appointment of 35-year global technology veteran Toni Townes-Whitley as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, effective October 2, 2023. Townes-Whitley will also join the SAIC Board of Directors upon assuming the role. She will succeed Nazzic S. Keene, who has decided to retire as CEO and from the SAIC Board, also effective October 2.”

Share price increase since August 2019

The announcement follows an increase in Science Applications International Corp.’s share price of 17% since August 2019. August 2019 is the month in which Keene’s tenure as CEO began.

In the position of CEO since 2019

Nazzic Keene became CEO of the Company in 2019.

To ensure a seamless transition, Townes-Whitley will join SAIC on June 12 as CEO-elect, while Keene continues as CEO through October 1.

Keene will then become Special Executive Advisor to Townes-Whitley and the company through February 2, 2024.

Nazzic Keene serves as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and a Director since 2019.

She previously served as Chief Operating Officer from 2017 until July 2019, where she was responsible for overseeing daily operations of the company, including its long-term strategy for sustained profitable growth.

Keene joined the company in 2012, holding several leadership roles including President of the company’s Global Markets & Mission sector and Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy.

Since 2020, Keene has served as a member of the Board of Directors for each of Automatic Data Processing, Inc., a provider of human resources management software and services, INOVA Hospital System, a non-profit health organization, and VA Ready Initiative, a non-profit organization focused on economic development initiatives in response to COVID-19.

In January 2022, Keene became a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Prior to joining SAIC, Keene was the Senior Vice President and General Manager for U.S. Enterprise Markets at CGI Group Inc., a global information technology consulting, systems integration, outsourcing and solutions company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, from 2004 to 2012, leading the company’s U.S. expansion in all aspects of strategy development, operational execution and leadership development.

She previously held various roles in the communications and IT industry.

62 words by Nazzic Keene

In the news release announcing her departure as CEO of Science Applications International Corp., Nazzic Keene received accolades, praise and thanks.

In announcing her departure, Nazzic Keene said 62 words.

“I am excited to work alongside Toni”

Nazzic Keene stated: “I have known, respected and admired Toni for years and am thrilled to welcome her to our SAIC family. 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.”

40% of CEOs are forced out or fired

When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position, with 0 being most likely a voluntary move and 10 being most likely a forced exit. Anything over a 5 indicates that there are valid reasons to believe an executive may have been pushed out.

Of the 317 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (May 18, 2022, to May 17, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 6.1, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When performance issues, time with family or pursuit of other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 40% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.

In other words, in the past 12 months, two in five departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Closer look at female CEOs

Female CEOs in the U.S. have been found to be more likely to be pushed out than male CEOs. Over the past 12 months, outgoing female CEOs have received an average Push-out Score of 6.6, considerably above the average Push-out Score of 6.1 for outgoing male CEOs.

Female CEOs have a 37% shorter tenure. Women in the role step down after an average tenure of 5 years, compared with 7.9 years for men, the exechange data shows, which covers 23 departing female CEOs and 294 departing male CEOs.

On a five-year view, departing female CEOs received an average Push-out Score of 5.8, which was significantly higher than the average Push-out Score of 5.3 for departing male CEOs. This suggests that women were more likely to be pushed out than men, even when using a longer observation period. This is evident from exechange data covering 1,403 CEO departures (84 of them women and 1,319 men) from 2017 to 2021. Female CEOs who announced their departure from 2017 to 2021 had a 26% shorter tenure, exiting after an average of 6.6 years, compared with 8.9 years for men, the exechange data shows.

Push-out Score for Nazzic Keene’s move determined

The Push-out Score regarding Nazzic Keene’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.

exechange reached out to Science Applications and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 21.2023 ($).