Richard F. Alden, a longtime member of Hughes Aircraft Co.'s board of directors and the company's general counsel for the past decade, has been elected vice chairman, a newly created position.

Alden is retiring as senior partner with the Los Angeles law firm of Latham & Watkins, where he has worked for 35 years.

In addition to continuing to serve as general counsel, he will remain a member of the executive committee, Hughes announced. Alden has long had an active role in the company's relationship with its owner, the Miami-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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