Who is Vance D. Coffman?

Vance D. Coffman is the former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Vance D. Coffman Background

Born in Kinross, Iowa, on April 3, 1944, Coffman earned his bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University and a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford. He joined Lockheed in 1967.

Before Coffman became chairman and CEO of Lockheed in 1998, he held a variety of positions at Lockheed, including president and chief operating officer of Lockheed Martin's Space & Strategic Missile Sector. He was also president of the Space Systems Division of Lockheed Missiles & Space Company. While he was president of the Space Systems division, he oversaw the production of the Hubble Space Telescope, the MILSTAR satellite communications program and a space-based infrared warning system.

He retired from Lockheed at age 67 in 2004-2005. He also has been a director for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Amgen and Deere & Company.

Why Does Vance D. Coffman Matter?

One of Coffman's most prominent achievements is the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta Corporation, but more important is the example he set that shows the need for executives to have both technical expertise and business expertise. During his watch, Lockheed was responsible for some of the greatest American advancements in defense technology, communications technology and aerospace technology.