June 22, 2018
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Retired Bath Iron Works leader who oversaw record employment dies at age 93

Courtesy Stetson's Funeral Home | BDN
Courtesy Stetson's Funeral Home | BDN
John F. Sullivan Jr.
By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff

Former Bath Iron Works president John F. Sullivan Jr., whose tenure saw record employment surges and the company’s sale to Congoleum, died Sunday at Mid Coast Senior Health Center in Brunswick.

Sullivan, 93, retired in 1983 from the shipyard, where he had served as president and chief executive officer for eight years, Maritime Reporter said at the time.

While president of BIW, he also served as vice president of Congoleum, which owned BIW at the time.

Following Sullivan’s retirement as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of BIW, William E. Haggett became president and CEO.

At the time, Congoleum president Eddy G. Nicholson, said of Sullivan, “Under his guidance, Bath Iron Works has established itself as one of the nation’s premier shipbuilders.”

During Sullivan’s eight-year tenure, employment at BIW increased from 3,500 to more than 8,500, and the shipyard’s backlog rose from $125 million to more than $1 billion, according to Maritime Reporter.

“Current work backlogs and employment are at record peacetime levels, and the company has achieved an unequaled reputation for quality performance, ahead of schedule and under budgeted cost,” Nicholson continued.” Mr. Sullivan will be sorely missed, but thanks to the solid foundation he has laid, the prospects for Bath’s future have never looked brighter.”

Sullivan was born in Pasco, Washington, and attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering.

He also served three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II, according to his obituary.

Prior to his tenure in Bath, he was executive vice president of Hayes Albion Corporation, E.F. Houghton Company, and had previously worked for 19 years at General Electric.

Sullivan was active with a number of industry and philanthropic organizations and was presented with the Award of Merit by the U.S. Treasury Department, the Robert N. Thompson Award for Outstanding Civilian Leadership by the Navy League of the United States, and the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

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