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Ex-Northrop Grumman CEO joins Apple board

Ronald Sugar will replace Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who stepped down as a director of the Apple board last year.

Ronald Sugar
Northrop Grumman

More than a year since Google CEO Eric Schmidt's departurefrom Apple's board, the company has elected a replacement.

Going in a completely different direction than Schmidt's expertise in online search and advertising, Apple today announced the appointment of Ronald Sugar, former chairman and CEO of aerospace and defense giant Northrop Grumman. Sugar will head the board's Audit and Finance Committee.

CEO Steve Jobs emphasized Sugar's engineering background in a statement announcing the appointment.

"Ron is an engineer at heart, who then became a very successful business leader. We are very excited to welcome him to Apple's board," Jobs said in a statement. "In addition to having been the CEO of a high tech Fortune 100 company, Ron has a Ph.D. in engineering and has been involved in the development of some very sophisticated technology."

Sugar led Northrop Grumman from 2003 to 2010, when he retired. Before that, he was an executive at another aerospace firm, Litton Industries, and TRW, where he was CFO.

His appointment comes 15 months after Apple reportedly first met to discussreplacing Schmidt. At the time, there was talk that Apple COO Tim Cook could be given a seat on the board.

Sugar joins fellow Apple board members Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell, J.Crew CEO Millard Drexler, former Vice President Al Gore, Avon CEO Andrea Jung, and Genentech Chairman Arthur Levinson. Sugar's appointment means there is still one vacant seat on the board due to Jerry York's death earlier this year.

Update 2:31 p.m. PT: According to documents Apple just filed with the SEC, Sugar will be getting paid handsomely for his latest gig. He's getting the standard $50,000 per year Apple pays its board members, plus $25,000 on top of that for heading the audit and finance committee. He also gets an instant grant of 185 stock options.