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Lockheed Martin Names Aerospace Veteran James Taiclet as New CEO

By Anne Chou
Lockheed Martin
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Lockheed Martin Corp. chief executive Marillyn Hewson will step down in June after seven years in the role. She will be succeeded by James Taiclet, a board member of Lockheed since 2018, and chief executive of communications infrastructure company American Tower Corp. Hewson will become executive chairman of the board. The changes become effective on June 15.

Taiclet is currently the chairman, president and chief executive of American Tower. He previously served as the president of the aerospace services unit of Honeywell International. Before that, he was a senior executive at Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp. Taiclet began his career serving in the United States Air Force, where he did a tour of duty during the Gulf War.

Hewson has been president and CEO of the world’s largest defense company since 2013. Her departure follows several recent leadership changes at some of the biggest defense companies, including Northrup Grumman Corp., where Kathy Warden stepped into the CEO role in January 2019, and BAE Systems Inc., where Tom Arseneault will take the top job on April 1.

"I know it is the right time to transition the leadership of Lockheed Martin,” Hewson said in a company statement. “The corporation is strong, as evidenced by our outstanding financial results last year and a record backlog of business.” She added that she was the one who recommended Taiclet for the top job.

In other executive changes at Lockheed, Frank St. John, EVP of Lockheed’s rotary and mission systems business, was promoted to chief operating officer, a role that is being revived after formerly being held by Hewson. St. John will have responsibility for overseeing the company’s four business area executive vice presidents. Stephanie Hill, SVP of enterprise business and transformation, will succeed St. John.

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