Brown will succeed Howard L. Lance, who has served as CEO since January 2003 and in May announced he would retire when a successor had been chosen.
Lance, 55, will continue to serve as chairman, president and CEO through Oct. 31 and as non-executive chairman of the board until Dec. 31.
The company announced that the board expects to appoint Brown, 48, to the board of directors at its December meeting.
Brown most recently served as senior vice president of corporate strategy and development for United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX). In that role, he was responsible for global strategic planning and merger and acquisition activity.
Prior to that, he served as president of UTC’s $6.5 billion fire and security division, where he led 45, 000 employees. Operating profits tripled during Brown’s five-year stint.
“Over his career, Bill Brown has demonstrated an exceptional ability to expand into new markets and increase sales, while at the same time controlling costs and enhancing margins, ” said Lewis Hay III, lead independent director of Harris’ board. “His strategic acumen, operating and commercial skills and large-scale p and l management experience, the board unanimously believes that Bill will be an exceptional leader and the perfect person to grow this company.”