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Lockheed Martin CEO steps down for new era of global leadership

Marillyn Hewson, the CEO of Lockheed Martin. Mackenzie Stroh for Fortune

Lockheed Martin’s long-time global chief executive Marillyn Hewson has stepped down, with the board electing James Taiclet as her replacement, effective 15 June, as the end of an era comes to pass.

Lockheed Martin’s long-time global chief executive Marillyn Hewson has stepped down, with the board electing James Taiclet as her replacement, effective 15 June, as the end of an era comes to pass.

Taiclet has served as chairman, president and CEO of American Tower Corporation since 2004 and CEO since 2003. During that time, American Tower grew significantly and increased its market capitalisation from approximately US$2 billion to approximately US$100 billion.

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He also guided the company's transformation from a primarily US business to a global player in its industry, with significant assets and operations in 19 countries. 

Taiclet will succeed Hewson, 66, who has served as chairman, president and CEO since 2014 and president and CEO since 2013. Hewson will become executive chairman of the board, also effective 15 June, subject to her re-election to the board by the stockholders at the upcoming annual meeting. 

Hewson, a long time figure on the Forbes lists and widely recognised as the world's most powerful woman, said, "I know it is the right time to transition the leadership of Lockheed Martin. The corporation is strong, as evidenced by our outstanding financial results last year and a record backlog of business.

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"We have a bright future – particularly with Jim and our outstanding leadership team at the helm. I'm pleased the board agreed with my recommendation. As Lockheed Martin's next CEO, Jim will lead the company forward in its next phase of growth and value creation." 

Frank St. John, 53, the current executive vice president of Lockheed Martin's rotary and mission systems (RMS) business, was elected by the board to serve as chief operating officer. Stephanie Hill, 55, senior vice president, enterprise business transformation, was appointed to succeed St. John as executive vice president, RMS. Their appointments are also effective 15 June.

Reporting to the new CEO and president, the COO will be responsible for the strategic, operational and financial performance of all the corporation's lines of business. All four business area executive vice presidents – aeronautics, rotary and mission systems, space, and missiles and fire control – will report to the COO.

This includes the corporation's entire portfolio of products and capabilities totaling almost $60 billion in sales.

St. John joined Lockheed Martin more than 30 years ago and took on roles of increasing responsibility in engineering and program management before joining the corporation's executive leadership team. Most recently, he has served as executive vice president of RMS and prior to that as executive vice president of missiles and fire control. 

Hill has served as senior vice president, enterprise business transformation, where she led the corporation's digital transformation and enterprise information technology teams.

Prior to that, Hill was deputy executive vice president of RMS and senior vice president for corporate strategy and business development. She held positions of increasing responsibility since joining Lockheed Martin in 1987 as a software engineer.

"Marillyn and the board have been focused on developing talent and ensuring a high-quality succession plan," said Dan Akerson, Lockheed Martin's lead director.

"On behalf of the board and our shareholders, we would like to thank Marillyn for demonstrating a strong commitment to the customer, shaping the company's portfolio to meet the challenges of today's global security environment and growing the business and driving long-term sustainable growth."

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin Corporation is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. 

Lockheed Martin CEO steps down for new era of global leadership
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