Irving Shipbuilding hires a star candidate as their new President

The Business Section (page B3) of the Friday Halifax Chronicle-Herald contained a long-awaited announcement by Irving Shipbuilding.  Because the Irving website does not have the announcement at the time of writing, the full text is repeated here for the information of our readers.  Some hyperlinks have been added to key subjects in the paragraphs that follow for your interest.

Mr. James D. Irving, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Irving Shipbuilding Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin M. McCoy as President of Irving Shipbuilding Inc. Mr. McCoy will assume his new role on August 6, 2013.

Mr. McCoy has just completed a 36 year career in the U.S. Navy rising to the rank of Vice Admiral. He has extensive ship repair and shipbuilding experience including command of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

Additionally, he served as the Chief Engineer of the U.S. Navy from 2005-2008, and as Commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) for the last five years.  In that capacity, he led an organization of 60,000 personnel and a budget of over $30B and was responsible for the design, procurement, construction oversight, maintenance, modernization, and engineering support of the U.S. Navy’s fleet of submarines, surface ships, aircraft carriers, and weapon systems.

Mr. McCoy holds graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MBA from Emory University in Atlanta.

Mr. McCoy and his wife Theresa have three daughters.

Irving Shipbuilding is part of the J.D. Irving, Limited Group of companies and is in the business of building quality ships and repairing vessels. The company’s primary site is Halifax Shipyard, with three other locations in the Maritime Provinces.  Irving Shipbuilding was selected in 2011 as Canada’s Combatant Shipbuilder under the merit-based National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and is in the early stage of a 30 year military shipbuilding program.  It is currently working on a number of significant projects for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Coast Guard.

When I last wrote about the departure of Steve Durrell from Irving, I said: “Whoever takes over will have to come with an incredible pedigree of experience and education from a world-class shipbuilder and a leading university.” Kevin McCoy fills this description perfectly.  His experience and qualifications will mean both Irving and the navy have someone that understands the industry, the direction of the latest research and development, and special requirements of naval construction.  It is a perfect fit, from those perspectives.

Mr. McCoy will undoubtedly have some difficulty understanding the Canadian budgetary process, the role of Treasury Board in the boom-bust procurement cycle, and the impoverished nature of the Canadian shipbuilding industry. However, with his intellect and credentials, these should be things he can work around and perhaps even contribute to a rational change agenda at the policy level.  I, for one, certainly hope so.

So, congratulations to Irving Shipbuilding for attracting and hiring such a star candidate.  Welcome to Halifax to Mr. McCoy and his family, and sincere best wishes for great success in your new appointment.