Lockheed Martin has gone outside the aerospace and defence industry to appoint its new president and chief operating officer.

General Motors executive Louis Hughes has been selected to succeed Peter Teets, who retired late last year due to the company's poor financial performance.

Hughes, who takes up his new position on 27 April, was once tipped to head GM. Credited with the turnaround and expansion of its Opel division, he had served as president of GM's $36 billion international operations, based in Zurich.

Most recently, he was responsible for managing relations with GM's international partners.

Reporting to chairman and chief executive Vance Coffman, Hughes will oversee Lockheed Martin's day-to-day operations, leaving Coffman to focus on strategic and financial issues.

The company says there are no plans for Hughes to succeed Coffman, who says the "fresh perspective will be invaluable".

Wall Street reacted favourably to the selection of an industry outsider after a six-month search which is believed to have considered aerospace executives including Boeing military chief Mike Sears.

Source: Flight International