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Chairman and CEO

The Cardea Group

Through her innovative leadership Linda has turned around failing enterprises, strengthened her companies’ ​​competitiveness in changing markets, structured portfolios through M&A and organic actions, and shaped cultures to attract, develop and retain key talent. As the first woman to lead a major national security corporation, Linda has transformed careers, companies and industries.  


Previous to founding The Cardea Group, Linda served as President and CEO of BAE Systems, Inc. until Jan 2014, where she led a global, U.S.-based defense, aerospace, and security company, wholly owned by London-based BAE Systems plc, with approximately 40,000 employees and $12.75 billion in annual revenue.​ Hudson also served as an executive director on the BAE Systems, Inc. and BAE Systems plc board of directors. Today, she continues to serve as an outside director on the BAE Systems, Inc. board of directors. Prior to becoming CEO, Linda was president of BAE Systems' Land & Armaments operating group, the world`s largest military vehicle and equipment business, with operations around the world. Before joining BAE Systems, she served for seven years as an officer and vice president of the General Dynamics Corporation and was president of General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products. ​

​Linda held a variety of senior management positions in engineering, production operations, program management, and business development during a period of significant consolidation in the defense industry. Beginning her career with the Harris Corporation and Ford Aerospace, she led organizations at Martin Marietta through the Lockheed Martin merger and a subsequent divestiture to General Dynamics.

​​​Selected to receive the USO’s 2011 Woman of the Year Distinguished Service Award, Linda has received numerous accolades and recognitions for her professional accomplishments and philanthropic activities. Recognized as an innovative leader and trailblazer, she has been featured in numerous periodicals such as the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Forbes. The London Sunday Times proclaimed her “the first lady of defense.”

Currently, Linda is a director on the boards of the Bank of America and Southern Company. She currently serves on the non-profit boards of the University of Florida Foundation and Center for a New American Security, a bipartisan national security think tank. She is a member of the International Women's Forum and C200, the premier global organization of women business leaders. Linda received C200’s 2011 Luminary Award for Corporate Innovation. She has been cited as one of Fortune Magazine`s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and one of Washingtonian Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington. Washington Business Journal has named her one of its Power 100 and one of the Most Admired CEOs. She was inducted into the Washington Business Hall of Fame in Dec. 2013. Also in 2013, Linda received the Association of the US Army’s Dixon award for her industry leadership and contribution to national security.

A graduate of the University of Florida, Linda earned her bachelor's degree in systems engineering with honors. She remains active in the alumni and athletic associations and serves on advisory boards for the College of Engineering. Honored as a Distinguished Alumnus, Linda also is a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Hall of Fame. She holds and honorary doctorate in engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and has been selected to receive an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Florida in Dec. 2014.