General Dynamics Begins 2013 With New Leader, Changing Business Mix (From Forbes)

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about how women are moving up in the defense business, but the biggest leap has gotten the least attention. On January 1, Phebe Novakovic will take over as CEO and Chairman of General Dynamics, the Pentagon’s number-three supplier and the builder of Gulfstream business jets. Novakovic joined GD in 2001 and led the company’s strategic planning function before being put in charge of its storied shipbuilding unit, where she generated strong results. Her main challenge once she installs her team will be to figure out how to stop the erosion at Information Systems & Technology, the company’s biggest unit by sales. Surging demand for bizjets will insulate GD results from any Pentagon downturn, and the company’s long-cycle warship and combat-vehicle franchises should hold up well in the near term. Over the longer term, though, look for Novakovic to try something a bit more strategic to restore GD’s reputation for returning superior results to investors. I have written a commentary for Forbes¬†here.