The president of Aerojet Rocketdyne abruptly left the aerospace company Friday, and its parent firm's top executive took over.
News of Warren Boley's departure was announced to employees, including 1,300 at the company's Canoga Park facilities, in an email from GenCorp, its Rancho Cordova-based parent.
In the email, Scott Seymour, GenCorp's chief executive, did not explain why Boley had left. Seymour said he had assumed Boley's duties "effective immediately."
The rocket engine maker has had setbacks in recent months. On Oct. 28, an unmanned rocket carrying cargo to the International Space Station exploded seconds after liftoff from coastal Virginia. The preliminary investigation blamed the rocket's decades-old Soviet engines. The rocket's owner, Orbital Sciences, had purchased the engines from Aerojet.
Orbital has issued a stop-work order on its engine contract with Aerojet as the probe continues, Boley told The Times last week. He did not return a message left on his phone Friday.
Orbital has said it will now import newly built Russian engines to power its future cargo missions for NASA.
And last fall, United Launch Alliance, the firm that has an exclusive deal to launch Pentagon satellites, bypassed Aerojet in picking a partner to develop a new rocket engine.
ULA announced it had partnered with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' aerospace start-up Blue Origin to develop a new engine. ULA continues to work with Aerojet, but as a backup to Blue Origin.
Aerojet hired Boley in July 2012. He had been a longtime executive at engine maker Pratt & Whitney before suddenly leaving in 2011 for what that company called "personal reasons."