UA Alumna Honored as Chief Executive of the Year and Most Powerful Woman
University of Alabama Alumna Marillyn Hewson, the executive chairman of the board of Lockheed Martin Corp., was named 2018 Chief Executive of the Year by Chief Executive magazine and Fortune’s Most Powerful Woman in 2018 and 2019, as well as named on Forbes’ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2018 and 2019.
For every legend, there is a beginning.
For Marillyn Hewson, who serves as executive chairman of the board of Lockheed Martin Corp., the roots that led her down the path of being named 2018 Chief Executive of the Year by Chief Executive magazine, began at The University of Alabama, from which she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and her master’s degree in economics.
"I was also proud to represent my alma mater, The University of Alabama," she said upon receiving the award. "I am deeply thankful for the strong business education I received at the University."
"That education helped prepare me for many of the challenges and opportunities I’ve encountered throughout my career – from the day I joined the company as an industrial engineer to my current role as CEO."
Hewson was both nominated and selected as 2018 Chief Executive of the Year by a committee of her peers – CEOs of other corporations – tasked with recognizing outstanding corporate leaders.
Prior honorees include Microsoft Corporation founder Bill Gates, former General Electric chairman Jack Welch, former CEO and executive chairman of Cisco Systems John Chambers and Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell.
Hewson said the honor is ultimately a tribute to the men and women of Lockheed Martin whose ingenuity, teamwork and commitment to excellence have propelled the corporation forward.
"They work diligently every day to provide our customers with the innovative solutions they need to carry out their vital missions," Hewson said. "It’s a sincere privilege to lead them, and I was honored to receive this recognition on their behalf."
Members of the selection committee said they chose Hewson because she’s led Lockheed Martin – a global aerospace, advanced technology, defense and security company with $51 billion in sales – through profound political and technological change, improved STEM education nationally, grown the nation’s highly skilled workforce and improved diversity in the technology industry.
"…Marillyn has demonstrated exceptional leadership, proving to be an exceptional role model and exceptional person – something we need in business, especially today," Mark Weinberger, CEO of EY and a member of the selection committee, told Chief Executive magazine.
A celebration in Hewson’s honor was held at an invitation-only event at the United Nations building in New York City on July 30.
Adding some real teeth to her appreciation of the academic foundation UA provided to launch her career, Hewson and her husband James, recently contributed $15 million to UA’s Culverhouse College of Business – the largest single financial gift in the University’s history.
This follows the $5 million commitment the Hewson family made to the Marillyn Hewson Faculty Fellows Program in Data Analytics and Cyber Security, a high-tech Data Analytics and Cyber Security lab, and an endowed undergraduate scholarship and graduate assistantship.
Hewson, a native of Junction City, Kansas, has a distinguished history leading and serving. She has led Lockheed Martin since January 2013. She joined the company more than 35 years ago as an industrial engineer and climbed the ladder of operational and corporate executive leadership as president of systems integration, executive vice president of global sustainment for aeronautics, president and general manager of the Kelly Aviation Center, senior vice president of corporate shared services, vice president of global supply chain management and vice president of corporate internal audit.
In addition to her role with Lockheed Martin, Hewson currently serves as a member of UA’s President’s Cabinet, UA’s Board of Visitors of the Culverhouse College of Business, the Board of Directors of Johnson & Johnson, the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, the Board of Governors of the USO and as chair of the Catalyst Board of Directors.
Hewson has been recognized as No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" in 2018 and 2019, and a top 10 "Business Person of the Year" by Fortune. She was named as one of the "World’s 100 Most Powerful Women" by Forbes in 2018 and 2019, ranking in the top 10 both years.
In addition to her education at UA, Hewson attended the Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School executive development programs.