Chuck Krugh Jim Wise

Bath Iron Works’ parent company General Dynamics announced today its appointment of a new president for the Maine shipbuilder.

Gulfstream Aerospace executive Charles F. Krugh will take over the role suddenly vacated by former BIW president Dirk Lesko in early April.

Krugh has served in a variety of aerospace manufacturing roles and will be tasked with keeping the shipyard and its 7,000 workers on schedule after falling behind on deliveries to the Navy.

The Army veteran joined General Dynamics in 2011 as a senior vice president and general manager for Jet Aviation and was appointed as Gulfstream’s vice president for supplier operational support in 2018.

“Chuck’s leadership, proven track record in manufacturing and expertise in managing complex supply chains will be an enabler to Bath Iron Works as it expands and increases the pace of shipbuilding for the U.S. Navy,” said Robert E. Smith, General Dynamics executive vice president for marine systems.

A graduate of Robert Morris University and the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster University, Krugh has worked for aerospace companies since 1992, according to his LinkedIn profile.


Tim Suitter, spokesman for Bath Iron Works’ largest union, Local S6, declined to comment on the announcement. The union represents roughly 4,300 BIW workers.

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

He resigned abruptly on April 7 after spending more than 30 years at the company, including over five as president.

Former Bath Iron Works President Dirk Lesko Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Lesko’s departure came shortly after the company agreed to boost BIW workers’ pay, however, the shipyard’s leadership has not provided an explanation for Lesko’s departure.

Lesko worked for BIW for 30 years and became president in 2016. His sudden and immediate April 7 resignation was announced in a two-sentence memo to workers. Robert E. Smith, General Dynamics executive vice president for Marine Systems, has since been directly responsible for leading BIW, which is owned by Virginia-based General Dynamics.

The Portland Press Herald reported in late April that Lesko’s resignation was made public on the same day that union leadership announced a memorandum of agreement concerning “historic” midterm wage adjustments.


“To reach a midterm wage adjustment of this magnitude is something that all parties should be proud of,” Local S6 wrote in a letter to members. “We are at a critical juncture with BIW. We need to prove we are the best shipbuilders in the world by delivering ships on time and on budget. That will greatly improve our negotiations strength headed into contract negotiations in August 2023.”

“Dirk Lesko poured his heart and soul into this yard,” Sen. Susan Collins said during a visit to the shipyard last month. “He cared deeply about the men and women of Bath Iron Works and about delivering the best-built ships possible to the United States Navy. I will miss working with him.”

BIW employees finish their shift at the shipyard on the afternoon of May 6. John Terhune / The Times Record

David Hench, spokesperson for Bath Iron Works, did not comment on Lesko’s resignation or Krugh’s hiring on Thursday.

Several Bath Iron Works employees preparing to work the afternoon shift on Thursday said they were just learning the news and were unfamiliar with Krugh.

With nearly 7,000 workers at its Bath and Brunswick facilities, BIW is one of Maine’s largest employers and one of two shipyards that build destroyers for the military, vessels considered the backbone of the Navy due to their ability to combat targets on and under the sea, in the air and on land.

Several Maine legislators, including Collins, Sen. Angus King, and Rep. Jared Golden, have recently discussed the importance of reaching a new multi-year procurement agreement after BIW’s current contract with the Navy expires at the end of the 2022 fiscal year.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers under construction at BIW include the future USS Patrick Gallagher, Carl M. Levin, John Basilone and Harvey C. Barnum Jr., as well as the more advanced Flight III configuration Arleigh Burke destroyers Louis H. Wilson Jr., William Charette and Quentin Walsh.

With reporting by The Associated Press.

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