Keough will commence the role in November this year, replacing Dean Rosenfield who has been promoted to head of Saab’s market area Asia-Pacific and will be based in Singapore from 1 January 2018.
South Australia's Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith paid tribute to Keough's contribution to the government agency.
"We always understood that once that work and industry was secured for South Australia, Andy would be a target for executive head hunters and sadly for Defence SA Mr Keough will be moving to a new position as managing director of Saab Australia, succeeding Dean Rosenfield in that role," said Minister Hamilton-Smith.
"I acknowledge ... Mr Keough's hard work for South Australia and the impact he has had on the local industry's future."
Minister Hamilton-Smith said Keough was a key player in South Australia securing the build of the Offshore Patrol Vessels, Future Frigates and Future Submarines.
"His detailed understanding of naval shipbuilding and strategic advice was a key factor in the Australian Made Defence campaign successfully bringing the federal government to commit to building Offshore Patrol Vessels, Frigates and Submarines in Australia," he said.
Keough completed 22 years in the Australian Navy, which included two commands of Collins Class submarines and a three-year exchange posting with the US Navy’s Submarine Force in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) for his leadership while in command of HMAS Sheean in 2006.
Keough retired from the Navy in 2007 and joined Australian shipbuilder ASC where he was responsible for establishing the business improvement capability and managing ASC’s operations in Western Australia.
As the new managing director, Mr Keough will be heading the operational companies and be the senior Saab representative in Australia and New Zealand.
"Saab’s Australian operations are very important to the company’s global development. Andy Keough experiences makes him the perfect choice as the new managing director. He has the drive, ambition and commercial instincts to build on Saab’s success in Australia," said Anders Carp, senior vice president and head of Saab business area surveillance.
Andy Keough has an MBA, is an adjunct professor with The University of South Australia and is the chair of the South Australian Defence Indigenous Employment Cluster.