Packing a punch – ten of the defence industry’s most powerful women

19 May 2015 (Last Updated May 19th, 2015 18:30)

In the last decade a few women have made inroads into the leadership structure of some of the worlds richest defence companies. Army-technology.com profiles ten of the most powerful women in the defence industry.

Packing a punch – ten of the defence industry’s most powerful women

Marillyn Hewson

Marillyn Hewson - Lockheed Martin

Marillyn Hewson is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American global aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin.

Hewson is credited with diversifying Lockheed Martin's commercial projects portfolio and increasing its focus on alternative energy and cyber security. The company, which earned revenues of $45bn in 2014, was named on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index under her leadership.

Hewson has held a number of leadership positions ranging from President of Lockheed Martin Logistics Services to Vice President of Global Supply Chain Management during her 31-year career with the company thus far.

Phebe Novakovic - General Dynamics

Phebe Novakovic took charge as company CEO and Chairman of American aerospace and defence contractor and maker of Gulfstream jets General Dynamics in January 2013.

Orders for the Gulfstream jets have increased under her leadership and the company plans to boost the output of its midsize business jets by nearly one-third in 2015. Novakovic worked as a CIA operations officer and US Defence Department deputy prior to joining General Dynamics as a strategic planning executive in 2002.

Within the company she previously held the posts of President and Chief Operating Officer as well as Executive Vice President of General Dynamics Marine Systems.

Yannick Assouad

Yannick Assouad - Zodiac Aerospace

Yannick Assouad has been the CEO of Aircraft Systems Segment at French aerospace equipment company Zodiac Aerospace since 2010. She heads the division that provides onboard systems for all the main aeronautical segments including commercial, business and regional aircraft and helicopters.

Assouad joined Zodiac Aerospace in 2003 as the CEO of Intertechnique Services and served as the CEO of the group's Services business segment between 2008 and 2010.

She previously held the position of Technical Director and CEO of Honeywell Aerospace, and Chairman of Honeywell SECAN.

Rebecca R. Rhoads - Raytheon

Rebecca R. Rhoads, the President of Global Business Services of American defence contractor and industrial corporation, Raytheon, has also held the position of Chief Information Officer (CIO) since April 2001. She is responsible for information technology strategy, functions and processes across the company.

Rhoads started her career with General Dynamics and was appointed as President of Raytheon's Global Business Services (GBS) in December 2013. She leads the expansion and integration of common business operations across the company's enterprise service delivery areas including supply chain management, finance, IT, human resources and advanced media functions.

Rebecca was listed as No. 6 on ExecRank's list of Top 50 Female CIOs for 2012.

Sondra Barbour

Sondra Barbour - Lockheed Martin

Sondra Barbour is the Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin's Information Systems & Global Solutions business area, a position she has held since April 2013.

The business unit, which provides advanced information systems, security and services to customers worldwide, reported approximately $7.8bn in sales in 2014 under her leadership.

Formerly, as the Senior Vice President of the Enterprise Business Services organisation and the company's CIO, Barbour led all internal IT operations at the company, including protecting infrastructure and information from cyber threats.

Martha May - Rockwell Collins

Martha May is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Officer of American firm Rockwell Collins, one of the leading providers of communications and aviation electronics solutions. May was appointed to the position in April 2013 after a series of leadership roles at Bell Helicopter and a 19-year career at American Airlines.

At Rockwell Collins, May heads the global HR function including organisation development and training, employee and labour relations, compensation and benefits, talent acquisition and so on. She is responsible for developing and implementing the company's Human Capital strategy.

May is also the President of the Rockwell Collins Foundation and was named a 'Woman Worth Watching' in aerospace by Diversity Journal in 2012.

Kathy Warden

Kathy Warden - Northrop Grumman

Kathy Warden is the Corporate Vice President and President of Information Systems sector at American global aerospace and defence technology company Northrop Grumman. Since 2013 she has overseen extensive, mission-critical systems as well as global hardware and software products for cyber security, homeland security, command, control and communications, health, public safety and enterprise infrastructure, intelligence and surveillance.

The business unit earned revenue of approximately $6.5bn during the last fiscal year and Warden is credited with bringing in $1.5bn in cyber contracts in 2014. The company opened its Advanced Cyber Technology Center under her leadership, to help develop innovative solutions for challenges faced by the company's customers.

Warden was previously Vice President of Intelligence Systems at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems and also worked for nearly a decade with GE before joining Northrop Grumman in 2008.

Pascale Sourisse - Thales

Pascale Sourisse is the Senior Executive Vice President of International Development at Thales Group, the French multinational manufacturer and supplier of electronic systems for the aerospace and defence industries. Sourisse leads Thales' international growth strategy, identifying and growing business opportunities outside of its domestic markets.

Sourisse joined Thales in 2007 as a member of the Executive Committee, Senior Vice President of Thales's Space Division, and President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. She was appointed the Senior Vice President of the Land and Joint Systems Division in 2008, a division with 13,000 employees and annual revenues exceeding €3.1bn at the time.

She became Senior Vice President of the Defence and Security C4I Systems Division in February 2010 and was appointed to her current post in February 2013.

Pascale Sourisse

Diana Sands - Boeing

Diana Sands has held the position of Senior Vice President of the Office of Internal Governance for The Boeing Company and has been a member of the company's executive council since April 2014.

She joined Boeing in 2001 and has also served as the Corporate Controller and Vice President of Finance, leading the company's accounting function and ensuring timely and transparent financial disclosures.

She is currently responsible for the development and efficient implementation of the company's internal governance policies and plans. Her areas of expertise include corporate audit, ethics, global trade controls activities, and regulatory and compliance matters within the company.

Nan Mattai - Rockwell Collins

Nan Mattai is the Senior Vice President of Engineering & Technology at Rockwell Collins and leads the company's global engineering workforce of more than 8,000 employees. She joined the organisation in 1993 and was appointed to the position in 2004.

Mattai is responsible for leading the company's technology investment decisions as well as the future technology direction and the development of advanced technologies. She promoted the development of enhanced situational awareness systems, including synthetic vision systems, as well as large-format LCD systems that are now incorporated into the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other aircraft. Mattai also works closely with the company's Advanced Technology Center to develop next-generation photonic components.

Her previous roles at Rockwell Collins include Vice President of Government Systems Engineering and Senior Director, Tactical Communications. Mattai was selected as the Avionics Magazine's Woman of the Year in 2012 and also as one of Diversity Journal's 'Women Worth Watching' in 2009.

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