Northrop CEO says she didn't sign recent letters because COVID-19 impact was 'less significant'

July 30, 2020

By Marjorie Censer

The chief executive of Northrop Grumman said today she chose not to sign recent letters sent to Capitol Hill urging funding for coronavirus relief because her company has seen a reduced impact and she wants to focus on continuing to limit the damage.

In a call with analysts today, Kathy Warden acknowledged that she did not sign a letter sent earlier this month by the CEOs of eight of the largest defense contractors. The letter urged Congress to appropriate funds for COVID-19 reimbursement.

She also did not sign one spearheaded by the Aerospace Industries Association and signed by dozens of executives.

"We are supportive of a strong national defense and recognize that funds need to be appropriated to support that objective," Warden said today. "We are directly engaged."

However, she said the company's COVID-19 impacts were less significant than those anticipated by other companies, she added.

"Therefore, we have continued to focus on that very issue -- making those impacts as small as possible so we are not in a position where we have an additional bill for taxpayers," Warden said. "We will continue to be focused on that as our primary objective."

She noted Northrop has seen "lesser impacts" than it even anticipated a quarter ago.

Meanwhile, the contractor reported today sales in its most recent quarter reached $8.9 billion, up 5% from the same three-month period a year earlier.

Northrop recorded quarterly profit of $1 billion, up 17% from the prior year.

The company's space systems business reported the largest increases in both sales and profit. Northrop said its space systems unit's revenue boost was a result of increased sales on restricted programs as well as the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Radar and Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission programs.