Much of the reporting about Marillyn Hewson’s surprise promotion to CEO of Lockheed Martin has focused on the fact that she is a woman in an industry traditionally dominated by men. No doubt about it, the demographics of the defense sector are changing dramatically. However, we ought to keep a few other things in mind about Hewson that were more important to her success. First, she is a self-made person who worked her way to the top over a 30-year career by never turning down an assignment. Second, she almost always out-performed her peers in the dozen-plus senior positions she held across the enterprise. And third, she has impeccable interpersonal skills that allow her to excel in circumstances where less humble executives might easily get into trouble. When you combine all the exemplary qualities Hewson brings to the table, it’s easy to see why her elevation is a better outcome for shareholders and stakeholders than the path the company previously was on. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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