(Reuters) - Boeing Co <BA.N> said on Tuesday it would move the headquarters of its defense unit to Washington, D.C. from St. Louis, a move that coincides with President-elect Donald Trump's push to get defense contractors including Boeing to rein in costs.
Nearly a dozen senior executives from the Defense, Space & Security unit will relocate starting in January, including the division's chief executive, Leanne Caret, a spokesman said.
Boeing, the second-biggest supplier of defense equipment to the U.S. government, said the move was under consideration well before the presidential election and was not related to Trump.
"It is driven by our commitment to improve our ability to engage with customers and decision-makers in Washington," defense unit spokesman Todd Blecher said.
In a tweet last week, Trump urged the government to cancel an order with Boeing to supply revamped Air Force One aircraft, saying costs were "out of control".
Boeing currently has a few hundred employees in Washington supporting activities related to government relations, defense, space and security.
Over time, the number of jobs shifting to Washington from St. Louis could increase to about 50, Boeing said.
Boeing will continue to have about 14,000 employees in St. Louis, working on training systems, fighter jets, advanced technologies and components for the new 777X passenger plane.
(Corrects to "rein" from "reign" in first paragraph.)
(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera and Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Ted Kerr)