Marillyn Hewson “didn’t expect the appointment” as the next CEO of Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest defense contractor, said Doug Cameron and Joann S. Lublin in The Wall Street Journal. But she accepted the offer within seconds last week, after the man originally picked for the job, Chris Kubasik, was fired for having an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate. Hewson, 58, has worked at the weapons-maker for 29 years, and says she’s held nearly every job there, including 18 different leadership roles. She now must “navigate a treacherous government procurement market at home and overseas,” as the automatic defense spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 2 threaten to take a bite out of Lockheed’s $47 billion in revenues. The U.S. government was responsible for 82 percent of the company’s sales last year. 

When Hewson takes the chief executive job in January, three of the six largest U.S. defense contractors will be led by women, said Andrea Shalal-Esa in Widely liked in the company, Hewson will be a stabilizing force in the corner office as Lockheed braces for budget changes, said defense consultant Loren Thompson. “She’s tougher than nails when she needs to be, but never tougher than she has to be,” he said.