Despite Defense Department cutbacks and a faltering economy, the head of Westinghouse Corp. says, Westinghouse is in a better position than ever.
"I don't believe I could have come to the job at a more opportune time," said chairman and chief executive Paul E. Lego, who was named head of the company in July. Lego was in Baltimore yesterday to address a national symposium on Total Quality Management.
TQM is a management strategy that suggests all employees turn out the quality of work that they would like to receive.
Westinghouse is the largest private employer in Maryland, with about 16,000 workers at the Linthicum-based Electronic Systems Group, 180 workers at WJZ-TV in Baltimore and about 30 at the Westinghouse Electric Supply Co. in Baltimore.
With its diversity of products and global market, Westinghouse should increase its sales 8 to 10 percent a year in the next few years, Lego said.
Richard A. Linder, president of the Electronic Systems Group, said that he expects defense contracts to level off, but said the company will increase its commercial services and international businesses over the next few years. As a result, employment levels should remain constant, he said.
Currently, about 29 percent of the group's revenues come from non-defense related products. But Linder said that percentage should increase to 50 percent by 1995.
A few years ago, 85 percent of the group's business was related to defense, he said. But the company now is making letter sorters for the U.S. Postal Service, air traffic control systems for airports and security systems for residences.
At one time, Westinghouse was involved in 42 different businesses. But it gave up its involvement in cable television, light bulbs, color television tubes and other areas.
Westinghouse is still a diversified company, however, with 12 business units in eight markets. Those include environmental services, broadcasting, electrical products, refrigerated transportation, electronic systems, financial services, furniture and energy. The Electronic Systems Group accounts for nearly one-fourth of the company's revenue.
Lego said he wants to expand the company's broadcasting businesses and expects environmental services to be one of the company's fastest growing areas. He said he also is looking to expand the Electronic Systems Group through acquisitions or joint ventures.
The company vied for Ford Aerospace, an international company that was purchased by Loral Corp. The acquisition would have opened new markets for Westinghouse. But, failing at that, Lego said, Westinghouse is searching for a similar opportunity with another international company.
Despite attempts to expand into commercial areas, defense will remain important to the Electronic Systems Group, Linder said. He said Westinghouse expects to provide the radar systems for new lines of Navy and Air Force jets.