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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Linda Hudson, chief executive of the U.S. unit of Britain's BAE Systems PLC (BAES.L), will retire early next year, the company said on Tuesday.
The weapons maker said it would now launch a search for a successor. Hudson, 62, joined BAE in 2007 and took over as CEO of the U.S. unit in 2009.
That promotion made Hudson the first woman to head a major U.S. defense firm and landed her in a small club of female CEOs heading Fortune 500 companies.
Hudson will stay in her post through the first quarter of 2014 and will remain on the company's board of director through April 2015, BAE said.
She previously held positions at General Dynamics Corp (GD.N), another major weapons manufacturer.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by W Simon and Jim Marshall