Industryweek 3969 Spirit

Former Lockheed Executive to Head Spirit Aerosystems

March 19, 2013
"I look forward to extending Spirit's strong performance in its core business while driving continuous improvement and greater consistency in the company's development programs," said Larry A. Lawson, incoming president and CEO of Spirit Aerosystems. 

Wichita, Kan.-based Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. (IW 500/201) has named Larry A. Lawson its new president and chief executive officer.

Effective April 6, the former executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will take the helm of the company. Lawson succeeds Spirit CEO Jeff Turner, who has headed the company since its creation in 2005.

"Spirit is uniquely positioned in the expanding commercial aircraft market," said Lawson. "I look forward to extending Spirit's strong performance in its core business while driving continuous improvement and greater consistency in the company's development programs.

He said he is excited to bring the company’s “operational and cost performance to its full potential.”

Lawson has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, beginning his career as a flight control engineer for the F-15 Eagle at McDonnell Douglas. At Lockheed Martin, he oversaw a number of programs, including the F-35, F-22, F-16, C-130J, and C-5, as well as advanced development programs within the company’s Skunk Works organization.

He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Lawrence Technological University, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the the University of Missouri, is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program and an MIT Seminar XXI Fellow.

"The board sought a CEO armed with a strong record of operating and financial performance on both mature and new aircraft programs with the ability to take Spirit to the next level," said Bob Johnson, Spirit board chairman. "Larry met all of the board's criteria. He is a well-known and highly respected leader in the industry and has outstanding experience managing multiple premier aircraft platforms efficiently and profitably across a large-scale business."

Turner likely will remain on the company’s board of directors. As CEO, he led the transformation of Spirit from a division of Boeing to an aerostructures manufacturer.

Spirit Aerosystems, a non-OEM designer and manufacturer of aerostructures for commercial aircraft, has more than $5 billion in annual revenue. It serves both Boeing (IW 500/16) and Airbus.

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