Women are leading top defence companies: International women's day

In light of International Women's Day, Defence IQ is making recognition of the fact that women are playing a huge role in shaping the future of defence.


Meet the most powerful women in defence 

In light of International Women's Day, Defence IQ is recognising the fact that women are playing a huge role in shaping the future of defence.

As of March 2019, four of the five largest defence OEMs in the US are being led by women, the latest being Kathy Warden who was promoted to CEO at Northrop Gruman at the start of 2019. Does this represent a major cultural shift for defence, or has the sector always been less concerned than other sectors when it comes to equal opportunity? Let us know your thoughts!

Kathy Warden, CEO of Northrop Gruman

Kathy Warden. Source: Northrop Gruman

  • Kathy Warden was made the CEO of Northrop Gruman 1st January 2019. Kathy has worked at the defence giant since 2008, starting as a vice president and general manager of the company’s cybersecurity business.

  • Kathy will join a group of 24 female executives leading a Fortune 500 company. Up from 32 in 2017, according to Fortune.

  • Northrop Gruman is the world’s fifth largest defense company (2019).

  • “I look forward to leading Northrop Grumman and driving performance for all our stakeholders; working with our employees, our customers, and our shareholders as we move our company forward,” said Warden.


Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin 

Marillyn Hewson. Source: Lockheed Martin

  • Marillyn Hewson was made the CEO of Lockheed Martin in 2013.

  • Fortune selected Marillyn as number one in their list of the world's most powerful women for 2018.

  • Hewson told the Wall Street Journal that it "took seconds" for her to accept the CEO position for Lockheed Martin.

  • Marilyn joined Lockheed Martin in 1983, and has also served as President to the Executive Vice-President of Electronic Systems. She oversaw Lockheed Martin buying out Sikorsky Aircraft in 2015, introducing the helicopter market to the company.


Phebe Novakovic, CEO of General Dynamics 

Phebe Novakovic. Source: General Dynamics

  • Forbes name Phebe the 8th most powerful woman in the world in 2018.

  • Prior to the role at General Dynamics, Novakovic worked at the Central Intelligence Agency.

  • Novakovic became General Dynamics' chairman and CEO in January 2013.

Leanne Caret, Boeing Defense, Space, and Security

Leanne caret. Source: Boeing Defense, Space, and Security

  • Caret was promoted to CEO of Boeing BDS in 2016.

  • Caret is number 23 on Fortune’s 2018 Most Powerful Women list.

  • On the topic of future defence, Caret told Fortune: "Many people don’t realize how important space is today to run our lives. But you’re not going to use that GPS in your phone to find your way without the satellites that are up there working. So I’m excited that folks are starting to have a better appreciation of how large this world is."

  • "We need to stop defining Boeing's future based on a single program or two programs, and we have been doing that with the fighter story. It doesn't mean it was wrong or right; I just don't think it represents the great diversity of the Boeing Defense portfolio."

To hear more from women in the defence sector, check out the following:

F-16 life extension and continued market interest: Interview with Ana M. Wugofski

What does the MiG 35 bring to air combat? Interview with Anastasia Kravchenko