Christopher Kubasik, Lockheed Martin's president and chief operating officer has resigned effective immediately. Until 9 November, Kubasik was designated as the heir to current Lockheed chief executive Bob Stevens.
Lockheed says that its board of directors asked for Kubasik's resignation after an internal ethics investigation confirmed that he had "a close personal relationship with a subordinate employee."
"While I am deeply disappointed and saddened by Chris' actions, which have been inconsistent with our values and standards, our swift response to his improper conduct demonstrates our unyielding commitment to holding every employee accountable for their actions," Stevens says.
Kubasik who was expected to take the top job on 1 January, 2013, is being immediately replaced by Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed's vice president for electronic systems as the company's president and chief operating officer. Hewson will ascend to become the company's chief executive on New Year's Day.
"Fortunately, we have a strong leadership team and a robust succession plan that allowed the board and me to react quickly and appropriately to this situation," Stevens says. "Marillyn is an exceptional leader with impeccable credentials and deep knowledge of our business, customers, shareholders and employees."
Douglas McCorkindale, Lockheed's independent lead director, adds. "Marillyn is a strong leader with a record of delivering impressive results. She has the full support of the board as she assumes her responsibilities as our next CEO."
Stevens, who was scheduled to retire at the end of the year, will now serve as Lockheed's executive chairman in order to help smooth the transition.
"As board executive chairman I will remain very active and involved in our company's work, playing any role that would be of value, and I will do this throughout 2013," Stevens says.