BAE Systems incoming CEO Charles Woodburn
BAE Systems incoming chief executive Charles Woodburn joined the company in 2016 BAE Systems

Defence giant BAE Systems confirmed that Charles Woodburn will take over from Ian King as chief executive this summer.

King, 60, is retiring after more than 40 years in the defence industry, including serving as BAE's chief executive since 2008.

Reports that King would stand down first surfaced earlier this month, with Woodburn widely tipped as his successor.

Woodburn, 46, joined the world's third largest defence group in 2016 as chief operating officer, after being poached from oil services group Expro International. He has spent over two decades in the oil business.

King will retire on 30 June, with Woodburn taking charge the following day on a £875,000 a year base salary.

BAE Systems chairman Sir Roger Carr said: "During his tenure as chief executive, Ian has built a world-class defence engineering and technology business, providing vital capabilities to our customers and contributing to the security and economic prosperity of the nations in which we operate."

Carr added: "Since his appointment last year, Charles has made an important contribution to the Company, bringing impeccable engineering credentials, broad international experience and fresh perspectives to build on our existing strengths.

"In his new role, he will build on an enviable inheritance to create an exciting future, where we will continue to be performance-driven and values-led."

Woodburn will take the helm at a challenging period at the defence firm. In the UK, the first manufacturing phase of the £30bn renewal of Britain's nuclear deterrent has been launched, while supplier contracts on the Royal Navy's next warship, the Type 26, have also already been awarded.

Share boost from Trump and Brexit

However, the government has signalled that it wants to break BAE's monopoly on warship building, with a new strategy expected to spread work across several shipyards.

Shares in BAE, which has a market value of almost £20bn, have enjoyed a double boost from the UK's vote to leave the European Union – which should boost profits spurred by the weaker pound – and the election of the new US President, Donald Trump, who has vowed to raise defence spending.

BAE's stock has risen by nearly a third over the last year.

King began to broadened BAE's operations once to took the top job eleven years ago, diversifying it into cyber security and applied intelligence.

He also oversaw thousands of job cuts as well as an aborted attempt in 2012 to steer through a merger of BAE and the European defence and aerospace group EADS amid opposition from Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor.

BAE will announce its annual profits tomorrow (22 Thursday).