Michele Evans died on New Year's Day.

Michele Evans died on New Year's Day. Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin Executive in Charge of F-35, F-22, Skunk Works Dies

Michele Evans, who was executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, had taken two medical leaves since 2019.

The head of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics who was in charge of the company’s largest division and a number of high-profile projects died Friday, the company announced Saturday.

Michele Evans, who spent her entire career working at the world’s largest defense contractor, had been battling an undisclosed illness since 2019.

“The entire Lockheed Martin team was saddened to learn that Aeronautics Executive Vice President Michele Evans passed away on New Year’s Day,” Lockheed CEO Jim Taiclet said in a statement. “Throughout her career, Michele led some of the most important programs that ensure the security of our nation and its allies and help make our world a safer place.”

Since October 2018, Evans had been in charge of some of Lockheed’s highest-profile projects — including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and future weapons developments within the company’s famed Skunk Works Advanced Development Programs business.

Evans, who had long been considered a candidate to one day become Lockheed CEO, took a medical leave of absence in September 2019, but returned to work a few months later. She took another medical leave in December 2020. 

Greg Ulmer, the head of the F-35 program, has been serving as acting executive vice president of the $20 billion Aeronautics division since December and will remain in that role until a new division leader is named.