Marillyn A. Hewson, chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp., says the global security and aerospace company is a natural fit for her.
Hewson’s father was with the U.S. Army, and her mother was a nurse with the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. She grew up adjacent to Fort Riley in Kansas.
While interviewing for her first job as an industrial engineer at the company’s Marietta, Ga. plant more than 30 years ago, Hewson became hooked after seeing all of the aircraft on the factory floor. After that, “I never really wanted to work anywhere else,” she said while sitting on a panel about women in defense at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit. “That’s what seized my imagination.”
Since then, Hewson has held 20 positions moving up the corporate ladder, becoming the first woman to be named to Lockheed Martin’s top post in 2012. Several months before that, She told Fortune’s Summit panel that she believes it was no coincidence that more female executives in the defense industry were moving into increasingly senior roles.
“We have decades of experience, we have decades of a track record of success, and we’ve moved up in the organization to compete for the top jobs,” Hewson said.
Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin employs roughly 97,000 people worldwide, and makes the F-35 and other military aircraft; advanced combat, missile, rocket, manned and unmanned systems; rotary and mission systems; and space systems for weather forecasting, space exploration and national security.
In 2016, Fortune identified Ms. Hewson as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” – naming her No. 3. That same year, Forbes released its global ranking of the “World’s 25 Most Powerful Women,” listing her at No. 24.
She’s No. 63 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.
Chairman (Since January 1st, 2014), President and CEO (Since January 1st, 2013), Lockheed Martin
Previous Position: President and COO
Company start date: 1983
First Position at Company: Industrial Engineer
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Alabama and a master’s degree in economics from University of Alabama