Cambridge-based defense contractor and intelligent systems provider Charles River Analytics announced today that Karen A. Harper has been named President, effective June 1. The announcement follows a year-long succession planning effort, culminating with Charles River’s current President, Dr. Greg Zacharias, retiring from the Company and taking on the role of Chief Scientist of the United States Air Force.
Ms. Harper joined Charles River in 1997, rising through the ranks and serving most recently as Senior Vice President, where she has directed the research and development activities of the Company’s four Government Services divisions: Decision Management Systems, Human Effectiveness, Sensor Processing and Networking, and Socio-Cognitive Systems.
Dr. Zacharias stated, “Karen has been a star since she walked in the door, initially focused on technical problems but quickly growing into being able to deal with larger programs and bigger teams. We did a major organizational restructuring in 2007, mainly to accommodate our continuing growth, and I was delighted to be able to promote Karen to SVP and put her in charge of all of our operational divisions. Since then she has grown her own style of collaborative leadership and has been able to develop and communicate a long-term vision for the Company, built upon our conversion to employee ownership in 2012. I am delighted to be able to hand over the reins to Karen, with fullest confidence in her ability to guide the continuing success of the Company, and ensuring real value delivered to all its customers.”
“I am looking forward to taking on this role within Charles River, especially at this point in our history,” said Harper. “We currently stand in a unique position to build upon our employee ownership model as a strong motivator to underpin continued growth and diversification of our business. Every day our staff brings the core talent and dedication required for continued successful growth to our efforts, and I am excited to leverage their energy and creativity as we continue to extend our significant IP portfolio and capabilities into new government and commercial markets.”
Ms. Harper’s promotion to President is part of a broader evolution of Charles River’s leadership team that resulted in reorganizing the Government Services divisions earlier in 2015, and promoting additional skilled and experienced personnel to the company’s Senior Management Team. Ms. Harper added, “We have taken advantage of this succession planning period to purposefully adapt our leadership team to bolster future growth potential, both through alignment and optimization of internal operations, and targeted strategic business development initiatives. I am thrilled with the quality and dedication of our leadership team as we complete this key transition and position ourselves for continued future success.”
Ms. Harper will continue in her role as Principal Scientist, and her leadership of programs focused on autonomy development for unmanned systems, including real-time sensor processing for autonomous situation awareness and decision-making, real-time control systems for maritime robotics applications, and human-centered remote supervisory command & control (C2). Ms. Harper holds a BEng degree in Mechanical Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, and an MS degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, where her research focused on robotics and control, specifically biologically-inspired robot locomotion.