August 23, 2008
Management changes at Austal
Austal Limited Executive Chairman John Rothwell stepped down from his executive duties Friday to become Non Executive Chairman of the company.
Bob Browning has moved up from his position as President and CEO, Austal USA, to become Managing Director and CEO of Austal Limited.
He now has responsibility for all operations of the company globally and joins the Austal Limited Board of Directors. Reflecting the importance of the current and future operations in the U.S., particularly in the military arena, he will remain domiciled in Mobile, Alabama.
It is expected that Mr. Browning will spend a considerable period of time each year working in Australia. His travel schedule will also include visits to clients and suppliers around the world and briefings to analysts and financiers in Australia and overseas.
Replacing Mr. Browning as President of Austal's U.S. operations in Mobile is Joe Rella, who is now President and Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Mr. Rella was introduced as Austal USA's COO almost a year ago. He was previously Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Jeffboat, LLC, Jeffersonville, Indiana.
A graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering Systems, Mr. Rella also has an an MBA from Spring Hill College in Mobile.
He has more than eleven years of experience at Gulf Coast shipyards, including both Atlantic Marine in Mobile, and Ingalls in Mississippi.
Since joining Austal, Mr. Rella has coordinated several major efforts, including the successful rollout and launch of the Littoral Combat Ship, Independence (LCS 2), scheduled to be christened October 4. He played a major role in the success of the planning, design and start of construction for Austal USA's 700,000-square-foot Modular Manufacturing Facility for which a groundbreaking ceremony was held in the end of July. He has also been coordinating the construction of the second Hawaii Superferry which is scheduled to launch in the end of September ahead of the contracted launch date.
Since joining Austal USA, Mr. Rella has overseen the growth and maintenance of a shipyard staff that now totals over 1,000 employees and incorporated production process improvements.
He has played a role in making several major improvements to the employee benefits package increasing Austal's ability to attract applicants.
Commenting on Mr. Rella's promotion, Mr. Browning noted: "Joe brings to Austal a wealth of experience in a variety of disciplines from the shipbuilding industry and will certainly deliver significant value to our customers and the corporation in his expanded responsibilities."