Former Defense Secretary Mattis Rejoins General Dynamics Board

By Barbara Wenger
August 12, 2019

James N. Mattis, the 26th United States Secretary of Defense who resigned last year, has been reappointed director for one of the biggest defense contractors in the world, General Dynamics.

Mattis, 68, is currently the Davies Family Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

“Jim is a thoughtful, deliberate and principled leader with a proven track record of selfless service to our nation,” said Phebe Novakovic, chairman and chief executive officer. “We are honored to have him on our board.”

Mattis, a former four-star Marine general, resigned over policy differences with President Donald Trump. In his resignation letter made public he wrote:

“Because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

Mattis commanded troops at all levels during his 43-year career as an infantry Marine, retiring in 2013. His major command assignments included U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander for transformation. He served in the Persian Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. At U.S. Central Command, he directed military operations of more than 200,000 military personnel across the Middle East.

Mattis previously served on the General Dynamics board of directors from 2013 to 2017. A company proxy from 2016 listed Mattis’ total compensation for fiscal year 2015 at $264,000.

When he left the board to become Secretary of Defense, “he promised to divest all stock associated with his seat. He also forfeited stock holdings and options that had not yet vested at the time he rejoined the government, which must have added up to several hundreds of thousands of dollars, based on financial disclosure forms,” according to a Washington Post article.

It’s unclear what he will be paid for his service this time around, but a 2018 General Dynamic filing of director compensation shows a total, including stock and pay at about $280,000: