In a rare public appearance, Economic Club member Phebe N. Novakovic, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Dynamics Corporation, was the featured speaker at a breakfast meeting on May 18. She and President Rubenstein discussed her extensive career in the national security and defense sectors of the U.S. government prior to joining General Dynamics. They also discussed the impressive financial results the company has achieved under Ms. Novakovic’s leadership including a doubling of the stock price since she assumed her current role in January 2013.
Excerpts from Event
We have an expression in the company, nobody’s good enough to be a jerk. It’s about teamwork. I’m a big believer in the criticality of the team. I also believe in a leadership style that’s fashioned around a servant leader. We talk a lot about that internally, that we have the privilege of leading those whom we serve. . . . we also talk a lot internally about our ethos. . . . . ethos is a more powerful word than ethic, because it means your fundamental moral character.
We believe very heavily in creating shareholder value. And in my mind, you do that through excellent operations. So we are focused primarily on our operating performance, year-in, year-out, because, of course, without good operations, you don’t have good earnings. . . . we’re laser-focused on operating performance – laser focused.
[The greatest pleasure of being the CEO of General Dynamics is] the privilege of serving. I am devoted and relentlessly loyal to the people of General Dynamics. And I care desperately about what we do and what we do for our country. . . . I’m a big patriot. There’s a lot of psychic energy that you get out of performing for those men and women who are keeping us safe.