Leadership Change at Austal USA

Austal USA
Outgoing Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle at the firm’s riverfront shipyard in Mobile. Photo by Mike Kittrell.

Craig Perciavalle, president of Mobile shipbuilder Austal USA, has resigned, the company announced today.

The leadership change at Mobile’s largest industrial employer follows investigations by U.S. and Australian regulatory authorities and internal studies, the firm said in a press release from the Australian parent company.

Chief Financial Officer Rusty Murdaugh will take on the responsibilities of president while continuing to serve as CFO, the company said.

Austal’s statement says that operation of the Littoral Combat Ship program has come under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission as well as by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

The U.S. investigation focused on write back of work in progress, procurement of ship components and allocation of labor hours, investigations in which Austal says it cooperated fully.

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After completing an internal investigation, Austal says it concluded that the work in progress write back was accurate, but that it found “isolated instances of misallocation of labor” and also installation of valves that didn’t meet specifications.

“Following the completion of the investigation, the Austal USA Board has accepted the resignation of the company’s U.S. president, Mr. Craig Perciavalle,” Austal wrote.

While announcing the leadership change, the company emphasized its plans for continuing Department of Defense work.

“The company’s relationship with the U.S. Defense Department remains strong,” the company said in its release.  “During the course of the U.S. regulatory investigations, Austal has continued to work closely with the U.S. Department of Defense, including on a joint investment in Austal’s Mobile shipyard of approximately $100 million, to implement a steel shipbuilding capability to complement existing aluminum shipbuilding facilities. Austal recently also delivered its 13th Independence-class LCS from the company’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, the fourth ship delivered by Austal USA to the U.S. Navy in CY 2020.”


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