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Lockheed Martin Australia names Joe North new chief executive

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 2, 2019
New Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive Joe North. (Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin Australia has named Joe North as the company’s new chief executive.

North was due to commence in the role on September 1, Lockheed Martin Australia said on Thursday. He replaces Vince Di Pietro, who left the position in April.

North was most recently vice president for rotary and mission systems operations for Australia and New Zealand and had a background in rotary, mission systems and maritime program management.

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“Joe has proven himself in leadership roles on significant programs and his appointment as chief executive demonstrates we remain committed to delivering for our customers in Australia and New Zealand,” executive vice president for Lockheed International Rick Edwards said in a statement.

“With his experience, Joe will provide a critical link to our US technological backbone and expertise which is critical to ensuring we can continue to support the development of a future sovereign defence capability for Australia.”

Since Di Pietro’s departure, Lockheed Martin Australia strategic engagement director and former Royal Australian Navy officer Scott Thompson had been acting as the interim chief executive. He will now assume the role of deputy country executive.

“Scott has played a key role in Lockheed Martin’s growth in Australia and New Zealand, exemplifying our company ethos of customer focus, innovation and delivery,” Edwards added.

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“I would also like to thank Scott for stepping into the interim chief executive role over the past four months.”

North said it was a critical period for the modernisation of Australia’s defence capability.

“Lockheed Martin is at the forefront of delivering state-of-the-art defence capabilities for Australia in the air, sea and space domains, and I am proud to be able to contribute to this critical transformation,” North said.

“I am also extremely privileged to have the opportunity to lead such an exemplary team as we focus on delivering for our customers and support the continued development of a sovereign defence capability for Australia.”

Lockheed Martin Australia to consolidate Sikorsky Australia operations at Nowra

In other Lockheed Martin Australia news, the company announced on Thursday its Brisbane-based Sikorsky Australia operations would be consolidated at Nowra by January 31 2020.

As a result, Sikorsky Australia’s Brisbane Airport facility will be closed and all of the operations previously at Brisbane re-located to its sustainment facility adjacent to HMAS Albatross at Nowra in NSW.

The Nowra facility is the company’s largest rotary-wing maintenance facility in-country, and was established in 2014 to support the RAN’s fleet of 24 MH-60R Romeo naval combat helicopters.

A 2014 file image of RAN MH-60R 'Romeo' Seahawk. (Defence)
A 2014 file image of RAN MH-60R ‘Romeo’ Seahawk. (Defence)

“We announced to our staff today that we will close the Brisbane operation by the 31st of January, and we are going to consolidate all that business in Nowra,” Lockheed Martin Australia’s Director of business development Rotary and Mission Systems, Neale Prescott told sister publication ADBR.

“In the past we have worked to co-locate our businesses directly or as close as possible with our military customers.

“We want to very much reinforce to the defence force that the rotary wing business in a military sense is very robust and positive. There’s a lot of activity in Australia with the special forces helo, the armed reconnaissance, and subsequently the battlefield lift replacement.

“But those are future opportunities, here we’ll move everything into the MH-60R facility which has been running for just over five years, and what we’ll be doing is making clear plans for looking for opportunities for the workforce.”

The company said it would support its Brisbane workforce of 103 people through the consolidation process, including offering the option of redeployment to other Sikorsky and LMA facilities in Australia.

The Brisbane facility currently provides maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) support to commercial S-92 and S-76 operators, and had performed MRO work for a couple of undisclosed foreign military customers.

Apart from the expanded operation at Nowra, the company will continue to maintain small maintenance workforces of 19 personnel at Townsville and 30 personnel at Holsworthy to support Army Black Hawk operations until that aircraft’s planned withdrawal in 2022/23, as well as two staff at Perth to support S-92 and S-76 commercial and resource operations in the west.

The Nowra facility currently has 140 staff, and was designed with sufficient hangar and office space from the outset to be able to absorb additional future work and personnel.

It is unclear how much of the work from the Brisbane facility nor what proportion of the workforce will be redeployed to Nowra.

“For each of those clients, we have notified them, and we’ll work with each of them to ensure we fulfil each of their contracts and what location we need to do that to conclude those contracts,” Prescott said.

Lockheed Martin Australia's Sikorsky facility at Nowra. (Lockheed Martin Australia)
Lockheed Martin Australia’s Sikorsky facility at Nowra. (Lockheed Martin Australia)

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