William A. LaPlante, former MITRE Executive, to Lead Draper

William LaPlante (Credit: Draper Lab)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Draper Lab PR) — The Board of Directors of The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., announced today that Dr. William LaPlante, a senior executive at The MITRE Corporation, has been selected as Draper’s next president and chief executive officer.

LaPlante will assume his position on October 7 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.

“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. “He 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.”

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.

Over his career, he has 30 years of experience with organizations in defense technology and space that include the Department of the Air Force as assistant secretary for acquisition and on numerous boards and commissions, including the Defense Science Board and the non-profit consortium Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT).

The appointment of LaPlante lays the groundwork for the next chapter for Draper under a new president and CEO.

Kearney will resume his role as a member of Draper’s Board of Directors and continue to serve in his capacities as president of Inside-Solutions-LLC, and senior advisor at Thayer Leader Development Group.

Of his selection, 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.”