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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Are you one of the Lockheed 600?

When the news came out that more than 600 executives had taken Lockheed Martin’s offer of a buyout, I was stunned at the number. A quarter of the company's execs will be leaving in short order.

As one commenter to our story said, It’ll be interesting to see how this affects Lockheed’s long-term prospects.

I couldn't agree more. A couple questions in my mind are along those lines:

Are they losing any future superstars? And if it is Lockheed’s loss, then who will benefit from that loss?

Let’s say even a third of these people were dead weight at Lockheed or were ready to retire anyway. That still leaves 400-some who I have to assume will be hot commodities among small and midsize companies looking for experienced executives. I'm sure some of the larger players will be interested as well.

Not that Lockheed is asking for my advice, but one thing I’d do is set up some sort of Lockheed Martin alumni organization for these folks.

Think about it: A network of former Lockheed executives will form across the market, holding positions of responsibility at a plethora of companies.

This could work to Lockheed Martin’s advantage when it comes to forming relationships and teaming arrangements. The companies that hire these former executives also would benefit because they’ll gain an experienced executive who will have contacts at a growing number of companies. Instead of the good old boy network, it’ll be the good old Lockheed network.

The company isn’t saying how the 600 are split up among the Lockheed's divisions, nor is it releasing names of the folks taking the buyout.

It’ll be hard for us to track where these 600 go and what they do. I'll be paying closer attention to the personnel announcements that come our way over the next several months. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact these former Lockheed executives have on the market.

If you are one of the 600, let us know where you land and what the process was like.

And if you think I've missed the point, let me know that, too.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Sep 09, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Reader Comments

Mon, Sep 20, 2010 Bob

It is impossible for someone outside Lockheed (or any one of the other major defense contractors) to understand how bureaucratic and process-laden they have become. Talented people inside these corporations are tired of mind-numbing top-down leadership, but feel trapped inside unable to improve things. An opportunity like this is impossible to pass up for these who are getting close to retirement.

Tue, Sep 14, 2010

Being one of the 600, I can assure you that a lot of the deadweight you are referring too are staying, and many of those leaving are the stars that know they can succeed anywhere else

Mon, Sep 13, 2010 LM Alumni DC

Paying people a premium to leave the company is a travesty. LM's executive leadership has lacked the guts to streamline the organization despite a recurring stream of reorganizations for years. Now they announce this grand plan and pay these folks huge cash payouts at the expense of the taxpayer. There new COO and HR executive are clueless and are destroying the fabric of the company's growth (services). In fact, moving more services into the Electronics’ business makes no sense either. Let's reorganize and put the most cost competitive market (logistics) LM competes in today in the company with the high rates and no knowledge of how to compete on the services business. Mr. Kubasik is out for himself and is single handedly destroying the company. Wake up Mr. Stevens! LM needs fewer full spectrum leaders and more business leaders.

Fri, Sep 10, 2010 James Aylward www.lucidgovernment.com

Did these cuts come from any particular department? Are they F-35 related? Or just an overall effort to lean out the management staffing?

Fri, Sep 10, 2010 #275 of the Lockheed 600

I suspect when it's all over, it will be a mix with about 1/3 being deadwood ready to retire, 1/3 being good performers who chose to capitalize on the cash out, and 1/3 being very capable leaders who concluded it was time to move onto other opportunities. LM management has made it clear to everyone that there's more to come - next time in the form of involuntary layoffs. These 600 are the start. There are 1,000's (perhaps over 10,000) at lower levels to go.

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