Austal USA said that Joe Rella, the Mobile, Ala.-based shipyard’s president and chief operating officer, has resigned. The board of directors accepted his resignation on June 22 and appointed Brian Leathers, the company’s chief financial officer, as interim president, Austal said in a press release. In addition, the company named Craig Perciavalle senior vice president of shipyard operations.
“This transition is a natural step,” Austal CEO Andrew Bellamy said in a statement. “We are moving from infrastructure growth to a focus of putting this cutting edge yard to work meeting the terms of our littoral combat ship and joint high speed vessel contracts.”
Austal is building nine Spearhead-class JHSVs under a 10-vessel, $1.6 billion contract for the Navy, and five LCSes for Navy. Four of the LCSes are part of a $3.5 billion, 10-vessel contract for the Navy.
“We have much to do,” said Leathers. “The people, the plant and the process are in place and Austal USA will be busy building ships for years to come.”
A June 26 report in the Mobile Press-Register said that Austal declined to comment on rumors that General Dynamics is considering acquiring a majority interest in Alabama Shipyard.
Ed. Note: This is a revised version of the story that was first posted on June 27.