Analyst Paul Nisbet of JSA Research Inc. said that, while he had expected Augustine to hang around another three years or so, now is a good time for the transition.
"This certainly is a time when someone else could pick up the reins and do it without a sharp change in direction," Nisbet said. "Everything seems to be running pretty much according to plan."
Lockheed Martin has been dominating its field almost like a Michael Jordan, winning virtually every big defense contract of the last few years -- including the next-generation space shuttle and a huge satellite missile-warning network.
Augustine "was the visionary of the whole approach. But I'm not sure you should expect the same person to handle the day-to-day mechanics of actually running it. Vance's strength is day-to-day," said analyst Modzelewski.
The change means that the company will no longer be run by someone with roots in the old Martin Marietta, which once employed more than 50,000 in Baltimore's Middle River.
Lockheed Martin shares rose 62.5 cents to $84.50 yesterday.
Pub Date: 4/19/97