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Leader of Navy shipbuilder in Maine abruptly resigns

April 8, 2022 GMT

BATH, Maine (AP) — The leader of Bath Iron Works, one of the Navy’s largest private shipbuilders, abruptly resigned, the company said.

A terse notification to employees announced Dirk Lesko had resigned from the General Dynamics subsidiary that employs about 7,000 workers.

Lesko led the shipyard through a reset after his predecessor’s stormy relationship with the workforce and then dealt with a tumultuous period that included a pandemic and his own labor troubles including a strike.

There was no reason given for Lesko’s departure, which was announced in a two-sentence memo to workers Thursday. Robert Smith, General Dynamics’ executive vice president for marine systems, will serve as president temporarily until a permanent successor is chosen.

Bath Iron Works is one of two shipyards that build destroyers for the Navy.

In recent years, Lesko focused on getting caught up on schedule and hiring and training workers. At one point, the shipyard was six months to a year behind schedule on delivering ships to the Navy.