General Dynamics is the oldest continuously operating military contractor in America, tracing its origins to the Electric Boat Company that supplied the Navy’s first submarine in 1900. Lately, though, the company has been living up to its name as an innovator that sets the standard for performance in the defense sector. Under the leadership of industry legend Nicholas Chabraja, GD reinvented itself in the 1990s as a producer of surface and undersea warships, armored vehicles, cyber systems and high-end business jets. It is a market leader in all four segments, owing mainly to management’s uncompromising financial standards. Under current CEO and Chairman Jay Johnson, the company’s unrelenting focus on shareholder returns is likely to continue outperforming industry peers and most other big companies in America. I have written an essay about GD’s strategy and management culture at forbes.com that can be found here.
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