The head of BAE Systems’ U.S. arm has announced she will retire next year, prompting a hunt for her successor.

Linda Hudson, president and CEO of BAE Systems in the U.S. since 2009, will step down in the first quarter of 2014, also exiting her position as an executive director on the BAE Systems plc board and as a member of the company’s executive committee.

She will, however, remain on the board of BAE Systems Inc. as an outside director until April 2015, the company said in an Aug. 20 announcement.

Like its U.K. arm, BAE Systems Inc. has been facing pressure as defense spending in the U.S. is cut, forcing the company to focus its attention on new markets. The news comes weeks after major changes were announced for the board of the U.K. arm of the company, which will see Sir Roger Carr take over from Dick Olver as chairman of the BAE Systems plc board.

Carr, who is currently chairman of the Centrica energy company and recently was president of the Confederation of British Industry, will join the board on Oct. 1 and succeed Olver in the first quarter of 2014.

Michael Chertoff, chairman of the BAE Systems Inc. board, said Hudson had “transformed” the company by “guiding it through periods of significant wartime growth, preparing it for defense budget reductions, and clearly establishing it as a major and leading defense company in the United States.”