Hewson, who was already slated to become president and chief operating officer in January, said she had taken part in high-level talks with the Pentagon about a contract for a fifth batch of F-35 jets, and would remain closely engaged in the process.
Those talks have been under way for nearly a year, prompting one of the Pentagon’s top F-35 officials to describe ties between Lockheed and the government as the worst he’d ever seen.
Hewson said she was committed to securing a contract for those planes, which is needed to free up funds for a sixth batch of planes, and said the company would deliver all the airplanes it was committed to this year, despite a strike that slowed production earlier in the year.
Lockheed last month warned investors that it faced a potential termination liability of $1.1 billion on the F-35 fighter program unless it received additional funding for work on a sixth batch of airplanes by year end.
“We are going to meet our commitments this year on delivering the aircraft that we committed to, the support for the customer is strong and so we’ll continue to be very much engaged and we won’t miss a beat on F-35,” Hewson said.
Stevens said Hewson was well suited for the top job because of her long years of experience in running various company divisions, as well as what he described as her “remarkable” people skills.
“I know you’re going to find this extraordinarily hard to believe, people seem to like Marillyn more than they like me,” Stevens joked, adding that he had learned “a lot from her in our ability to work together over the years.”
For her part, Hewson said she was focused on clearly communicating the company’s priorities, fostering innovation, listening to customers, and continuing to develop its workforce.
“I think it’s also important that a leader put in place an environment where people can do their best work, where they feel comfortable to bring their best ideas forward,” Hewson said.