Odgers Berndtson Announces Recruitment of Dr. William A. LaPlante to Lead The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory

NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Odgers Berndtson, a leading global executive search firm, is pleased to announce the…

NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Odgers Berndtson, a leading global executive search firm, is pleased to announce the successful recruitment of Dr. William A. LaPlante, senior vice president at The MITRE Corporation, to lead The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory as its next president and chief executive officer.

Dr. LaPlante will assume his position on October 3 when Francis Kearney, interim president and CEO, steps down and transitions his roles and responsibilities. Kearney, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, has served on Draper’s board of directors since 2015 and in his current role since 2020. The appointment of Dr. LaPlante lays the groundwork for the next chapter of Draper under a new president and CEO.

«Bill’s strategic leadership, operational excellence expertise, and passion for innovation will immediately benefit Draper and our customers by furthering our efforts to deliver excellence and corporate growth,» said David Shedd, chairman of the Draper Board of Directors. «Bill has built a tremendous reputation in industry and government working at the highest levels, and we are fortunate to have him join the Draper executive team.»

Dr. LaPlante was most recently senior vice president and general manager at National Security, a sector of MITRE, which includes two of MITRE’s federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) – the National Security Engineering Center (NSEC) and the National Cybersecurity FFRDC. He has more than 30 years of experience with organizations in the defense technology and space industries, including with the Department of the Air Force as assistant secretary for acquisition, and also serving on numerous boards and commissions including the Defense Science Board and the non-profit consortium, Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT).

Of his appointment, Dr. LaPlante said, «I am excited and honored to be joining Draper. Draper’s talented staff and their incredible technical work is needed now more than ever in our country, and I very much look forward to being a part of this great institution with its tradition of innovation and technical excellence.»

This critical Odgers Berndtson CEO search was led by Clarke Havener, Vice Chairman, and Jon Barney, the head of the firm’s Aerospace, Defense & National Security practice. Steve Potter, Chief Executive of Odgers Berndtson U.S., said, «Thanks to Clarke and Jon’s leadership of this search, we successfully recruited a candidate with unparalleled experience in the aerospace, defense, and national security industries. Bill LaPlante’s deep expertise and passion for innovation will help drive Draper to a new level of success.»

About Odgers Berndtson

For more than 50 years, Odgers Berndtson has delivered executive search, leadership assessment, and development strategies to the world’s biggest and best organizations. Odgers Berndtson’s 250+ partners cover more than 50 sectors and operate out of 59 offices in 29 countries. The U.S. wing of the firm launched in 2011 and is one of the fastest growing search firms in the Americas. Odgers Berndtson currently has U.S. offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles,  Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC.


Odgers Berndtson  646-612-7208


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