Leaders & Laggards August 2016

Leadership Leader

Since Marillyn Hewson became CEO in 2013, Lockheed Martin’s market cap has more than doubled. I’ll say that again: Hewson has led a doubling of market capitalization for Lockheed Martin in less than three years.

lockheed_martin-logo

For the mathematically challenged, that means a market cap growth of nearly $40 billion. That’s 40 billion dollars. Paraphrasing a Chairman I used to work for, “A billion here, a billion there… pretty soon you’re talking about real money!”

Chris-Kubasik2Lest you think hers was a simple, unchallenging, “just-don’t screw-it-up” sort of effort, realize she took over after the originally anointed heir apparent, Christopher Kubasik, was asked to resign after the board discovered he had a personal relationship with a subordinate.

Oopsie.

(Don’t lose sleep about Kubasik; $3.5M in severance and L-3 Communications saw no problem making him President & COO)

Nope, Marillyn Hewson is the real deal. She dumped commercial services (sucking wind) and bought up profitable competitor Sikorsky for a cool $9 billion.

HewsonLast year, she was named 4th in the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and 20th in the Most Powerful Women in the World. She’s a heavy hitter in her own right, to be sure.

In an interview with CNN, Hewson said that “… while she prefers to be known more for her leadership skills, she does realize it’s important to be a role model for women.” Good approach on both counts.

Finally, and this is my favorite, since it reminds us that really effective leadership, though rare, just ain’t all that difficult… during that same CNN interview, she said that, “…as CEO, she derives a lot of energy from walking the facilities and engaging with employees and their families.” WHAAAT? How can that be?? I thought CEOs were supposed to remain staunchly enshrined in their ivory towers.Apparently, Hewson didn’t get that memo. Adding to that, knowing that 25% of Lockheed Martin’s employees are women, 22% are in leadership roles, and women make up a third of the board of directors, it’s obvious to see how Marillyn Hewson is our Leadership Leader for August.

Leadership Milquetoast

Given Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s highly vocal and visible progressive corporate initiatives, it saddens us to see that, apparently, those progressive initiatives do not include employee diversity.

facebookZuckerberg, CEO (and world’s 6th richest man), and Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Global Director of Diversity (hired in 2013) have given real diversity lip-service at best, quite reminiscent of the stereotype of energy industry’s good ol’ boy’s club.

Though Facebook has grown the Asian percentage by a couple of points since 2012, both Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino (as EEO categories) remain substantially the same (2% and 4% respectively), although Facebook’s headcount has grown almost 350% during that same time. 350%!

Female employment is up a single percentage point during that same time.

In 2014, Maxine Williams wrote “So at Facebook we’re serious about building a workplace that reflects a broad range of experience, thought, geography, age, background, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture and many other characteristics.”

I’m calling bullshit.

MurrayAlina Selyukh, a writer with NPR, referred to their performance as reminiscent of groundhog day, doing the same thing over, and over, and over…

Case in point:

  • 2014: “We have more work to do — a lot more. But the good news is that we’ve begun to make progress.”
  • 2015: “While we have achieved positive movement over the last year, it’s clear to all of us that we still aren’t where we want to be. There’s more work to do.”
  • 2016: “We still have a long way to go, but as we continue to strive for greater change, we are encouraged by positive hiring trends.”

“…we’ve begun to make progress.”
“…we have achieved positive movement…”
“…encouraged by positive trends.”

Blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda… rhetoric in place of actionable results. This isn’t new, of course.

At this writing, Facebook has 1,472 open positions. If history holds true, less than 450 of those hires will be females of any race, less than 90 will be Black/Hispanic (male or female), and over 575 will be white males. The underrepresentation continues… Williams and Facebook won’t release recent hiring data, meaning it’s likely not in the social media giant’s favor.

Williams, taking a page from the handbook of many a good ol’ boy company, deflected accountability by blaming the public education system and “the talent pipeline,” a euphemism for “We just didn’t have enough to choose from; if we did, we’d hire more females and underrepresented minorities.”

“It has become clear that at the most fundamental level, appropriate representation in technology or any other industry will depend upon more people having the opportunity to gain necessary skills through the public education system.”
–Maxine Williams, facebook’s Global Director of Diversity

 

Not sure how this is any different than any other company on the planet complaining, whining, moaning about how their inability to hire diversity candidates just “isn’t their fault.” If Facebook can’t do it, maybe it’s simply impossible…? Yeah, no.

A copout. Don’t say “nobody can do it.” Intel can. And did.Facebook has the resources to do better, and can/should be an example of a Leader in diversity hiring and employment. Instead, since they pretty much look just like everyone else, we’ll call it a blown opportunity and award them August’s Leadership Milquetoast.

Leadership Laggard

Volkswagen Leadership, past and present. Again.

I know it seems like we’re piling on, given their two-time placements on our Laggard list (here and here). but recent state lawsuits have brought new revelations to light. For instance, now we have allegations that Volkswagen specifically knew that the company’s “clean diesel” engines could not meet pollution standards in normal driving without compromises to performance or fuel economy.

Volkswagen_LogoThe suits publicly identified for the first time many of these employees (so much for unnamed “engineers”) and accused them of “unlawful conduct.”

The suits said at least eight employees in VW’s engineering department deleted or removed incriminating data in August 2015 after a senior attorney advised them of an impending order not to destroy documents. Whaaat?? How can that be??

VW ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn and ex-marketing dude Christian Klingler allegedly knew in early 2014 of the illegal devices and “did nothing to prevent both Audi and Volkswagen from repeatedly deceiving regulators.” Son of a gun… whouldathunkit??

Bloomberg reports that emails presented by the New York attorney general at a press conference seem to confirm earlier reports that the board members and senior management already had in-depth knowledge about the company’s emissions cheating practices.

A 2013 email from Frank Tuch, VW’s head of quality management, told Winterkorn, “A thorough explanation… cannot be given to authorities”.

In August 2014, Oliver Schmidt, ex-head of VW’s environmental and engineering office told a US spokesman: “[Audi’s] V6 has exactly the same issue, but… they have not been caught.”

Yes, I can see how “getting caught” would be a bad thing. Maybe, then, you should have considered “not doing it??”

This one is too easy… Volkswagen is again our Leadership Laggard, a threepeat in August.

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