Lockheed Martin Names American Tower's Taiclet as CEO

James Taiclet replaces Marillyn Hewson, who has served as Lockheed Martin's CEO since 2013.
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Lockheed Martin  (LMT) - Get Report selected James Taiclet, CEO of cellphone tower titan American Tower  (AMT) - Get Report,  as chief executive of the aerospace and defense giant.

Taiclet, 59 years old, replaces Marillyn Hewson, 66, who is stepping down after seven years on the job. She will become executive chairman.

Taiclet has run American Tower for 17 years. Many analysts and investors view it the best run company in its industry.

Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, has hit some speed bumps recently.

A $17 billion system it has deployed for 11 years to track F-35 fighter jets for repairs, parts replacement and general maintenance is riddled with shortcomings, according to a Government Accountability Office report obtained by Bloomberg. Lockheed staffers sometimes have to enter the data by hand.

The Defense Department complained in November that the next-generation F-35 jet has failed to meet combat readiness goals.

As for Hewson, "I know it is the right time to transition the leadership of Lockheed Martin,” she 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 said it was she who recommended Taiclet for the position.

In January, Lockheed Martin reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations and raised guidance for sales, profits and cash flow in 2020.

At last check, Lockheed shares traded at $295 in premarket trading, down 10.22% in a plunging market. The stock rose 11% in the 12 months through Friday, compared to a 4% decline for the S&P 500.