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Lockheed Chief Plans to Retire in December

May 14, 1985|RALPH VARTABEDIAN | Times Staff Writer

Lockheed Chairman Roy A. Anderson, who took over the Burbank aerospace firm in 1977 when it was wracked by political scandal and on the brink of financial insolvency, has quietly indicated in financial circles that he will retire in December, The Times has learned.

Anderson has not designated a successor, and his impending departure has set off considerable speculation within Lockheed and around the aerospace industry over who will be selected as the next chief executive of the firm.

Although Anderson declined to comment Monday on the reports, he is expected to acknowledge at the Lockheed annual meeting today that it will be his last as the firm's chief executive.

Anderson will turn 65 in December and in recent months has told various Los Angeles civic groups, including the Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, that he intends to retire. He has been designated as chairman of the chamber for 1986.

Lockheed directors say a management committee is actively considering a successor, but no recommendation has been made to the board. Lockheed has four top officers who are said to be prime candidates to take over the company when Anderson leaves. They are President Lawrence O. Kitchen, Chief Financial Officer Vincent N. Marafino, missiles and space group President Robert A. Fuhrman and aeronautics group President Robert B. Ormsby Jr.

The huge defense contractor, which ranked last year as the fourth largest in the nation, has been run in recent decades by financial men, a marked contrast to the practice at most aerospace firms of giving the top job to an engineer or scientist.

Anderson, 64, started at Lockheed as an accountant and has never had direct operating responsibility for any of the firm's large companies.

Kitchen, 62, has a financial background and is former president of Lockheed Georgia Co. Marafino is also considered a leading candidate because he is an accountant and, at age 55, could serve for up to 10 years. Ormsby and Fuhrman have both been involved in winning huge contracts at their operations that played key roles in Lockheed's success.

During his eight years as chairman, Anderson has taken an active role as the "outside" face of Lockheed. He has set a tone that has restored Lockheed's credibility after its disastrous political scandals of the 1970s.

"I consider that as Roy's No. 1 contribution to the company," said Joseph R. Rensch, a Lockheed director and president of Pacific Lighting Corp. "He was the perfect guy to be there during this period."

When Anderson took over Lockheed, the firm had fallen from its position at the top of the industry. In 1971, for example, the company had been forced to seek Congress' approval of a $250-million loan guarantee.

By the late 1970s, Lockheed was among the most poorly regarded firms in the business. Ithad become entangled in allegations that it bribed foreign officials, which led to the fall of Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. The company overran by millions of dollars contracts to build the C-5A. And its effort to enter the commercial airliner business with its L-1011 Tristar gushed red ink.

To be sure, Lockheed's turnaround has been made possible by the Carter and Reagan administrations' defense buildup. In recent years Lockheed has won multibillion-dollar contracts to build satellites, nuclear missiles, cargo jets and a secret stealth aircraft.

While his predecessors at Lockheed beat a hasty retreat from the public spotlight, Anderson became known for his accessibility and willingness to speak for the industry. And, most important, Lockheed steadied itself and has begun reporting large and regular profit increases. It earned $344 million in 1984 and paid a dividend, its first in 15 years.


David Banmiller was chosen to succeed William Lyon as president and chief operating officer of AirCal Inc. Lyon will remain chairman and chief executive of the Newport Beach airline.

Lyon, a home builder and 35% shareholder in AirCal, said Banmiller's promotion from his post as the regional carrier's senior vice president of marketing and business planning was in recognition of the pivotal role he has played in improving AirCal's financial fortunes.

In his previous role, Banmiller, 40, was credited with creating many successful promotional campaigns. Industry analyst Paul Plaettner of Crowell Weedon & Co. in Los Angeles said that Banmiller has a reputation among regional airline executives as "AirCal's secret weapon" because of his marketing expertise.

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