Lockheed Martin [LMT] late Tuesday afternoon announced that its chief financial officer, Kenneth Possenriede, had decided to retire immediately for personal reasons after 35 years with the company.
John Mollard, the company’s treasurer, has been named acting CFO on an interim basis. Mollard has been with the company 38 years.
Possenriede’s abrupt retirement was a surprise. He was named CFO in February 2019, reporting to Marillyn Hewson, who at the time was Lockheed Martin’s chairman, president and CEO.
James Taiclet, Lockheed Martin’s current chairman, president and CEO, took the reins of the company 14 months ago when Hewson retired.
Jefferies aerospace and defense analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu pointed out in note to clients on Tuesday evening that the announcement was “surprising” given that Lockheed Martin usually telegraphs key leadership transitions. However, she said, given Possenriede’s three decades with the company, it may have been the best time to retire.
Byron Callan, an aerospace and defense analyst with the strategic advisory firm Capital Alpha Partners, said in a separate note to clients on Wednesday that Possenriede may indeed have retired for personal reasons but that carries a broad definition that allows “speculation.”
Last week, Lockheed Martin reported second quarter financial results that included an unexpected $225 million charge to a classified program. Callan noted that the charge isn’t exceptionally large but that maybe the resignation had to with “how the charge was treated and the possible risk that could have been created to [financial] guidance if further problems persistent on the program(s) at issue.”
However, Callan pointed out that management changes were to happen due to the issues on the classified program, they would be at the expense of operating managers if they didn’t report the problem to senior executives.
Taiclet in a statement thanked Possenriede “for his many contributions during his three plus decades of service to the company and wish him the best in his retirement.”