Lockheed Martin hiring thousands while monitoring coronavirus supply chain disruptions: CEO

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Aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin wants to hire nearly 5,000 people even as it monitors its supply chain for disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Marillyn Hewson said on Wednesday.

"In the past four weeks, we have hired 1,700 people, and we are advertising for close to 5,000 more jobs," Hewson told "Mornings with Maria." "I think that's critically important in this economy as so many companies have been hit."

LOCKHEED MARTIN MITIGATES CORONAVIRUS IMPACT, KEEPS 2020 GUIDANCE

The company is mostly maintaining its 2020 guidance despite the coronavirus pandemic, partly because it's in an essential sector.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
LMTLOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION389.77+0.81+0.21%

"We've been monitoring the effects of COVID-19 since it first hit in the last several weeks, but I must say that for a quarter, we had strong sales, we were up 9 percent," Hewson said. "We are starting to see some impacts from COVID-19 and our supplier delays. ... Because of that we have given some guidance in January for our sales, we took it down slightly just so that we could look out throughout the rest of the year."

Marillyn Hewson is CEO of Lockheed Martin.

Many of the corporation's suppliers also serve the flailing commercial aviation industry. Lockheed Martin is accelerating payments to the companies after the Department of Defense changed policies on progress payments, Hewson said.

"We are going to be flowing down $450 million to our supply chain over the next few weeks because of that foresight and leadership on the part of the Department of Defense," she said.

Hewson is set to step down as CEO in June, when she'll be replaced by board member James Taiclet.

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