Coutts to head Middle River unit for Martin

August 23, 1994|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Sun Staff Writer

Martin Marietta Corp. has named Robert B. Coutts head of its Aero and Naval Systems division in Middle River, replacing William F. Ballhaus Jr., who was reassigned to the corporation's Electronics Group.

The shift, which the company said is effective immediately, comes two weeks after the Baltimore County complex was accused of "incredibly shoddy" work on construction of parts used in a European-built commercial jetliner.

Airbus Industrie's complaint had to do with part of the thrust reversers that the Middle River plant produces, under a $300 million subcontract with Pratt and Whitney, for use on the European consortium's A330 passenger jets.

Phillip S. Giaramita, vice president of public affairs at Martin Marietta's corporate headquarters in Bethesda, said the changes were made so that the company could take advantage of the different skills of the two executives. When asked whether problems with the Pratt contract prompted the moves, Mr. Giaramita declined to answer.

But he said that "this is not a situation where we have bad news one day and change a manager the next day. The change has been in consideration for some time."

Mr. Giaramita said that Mr. Coutts has a strong manufacturing background and that the thrust reverser work at Middle River is moving from the development stage to production. Mr. Coutts most recently served as Martin's vice president for material acquisitions and subcontract management.

To conform with the company's other divisions, Martin Marietta has changed the title of the top job at Middle River from president to vice president and general manager.

Mr. Coutts, who began his aerospace career in 1972 with General Electric Corp., has extensive experience at GE Aircraft Engines, and with aerostructure customers and processes. He has also served as plant manager at a number of GE facilities.

Mr. Ballhaus will join the Electronics Group as a vice president for strategic planning. Mr. Giaramita said Mr. Ballhaus is better qualified to help the Electronics Group with its long-term strategy as the Pentagon budget continues to decline.

Mr. Ballhaus was named president of the Middle River operations in April 1993.

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