The president of the Austal USA shipyard has resigned, according to a Wednesday announcement from the company.
Rusty Murdaugh left the Mobile, Ala., shipyard after taking the helm as the acting president in early 2021.
“Rusty made a lasting impact on the company. The transformation and growth of Austal USA under his leadership has postured the company for the future with a diversified and balanced portfolio,” the CEO of the Australian parent company, Paddy Gregg, said in a statement. “Rusty is leaving Austal USA with unlimited growth potential and we thank him for all his hard work and dedication over the last two years.”
Michelle Kruger, Austal USA Vice President of Global Services and Support, has been named acting president until a successor is named.
Formerly the chief financial officer of the yard, Murdaugh has led Austal USA since the exit of former president Craig Perciavalle. Following his exit from Austal, Perciavalle briefly worked at Fincantieri Marinette Marine before he was indicted for accounting fraud along with two other former Austal USA executives.
USNI News understands Murdaugh’s exit is unrelated to the ongoing federal case against the former Austal USA executives. A company spokesperson did not elaborate beyond the statement when contacted by USNI News.
Austal USA was created to build the aluminum Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship and the Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF). In the last few years, the yard was retooled to allow for the construction of steel ships on part from a $50 million investment from the Department of Defense.
In July, the Australian parent company announced a $40 million writedown over the production of its first steel ship, the Navajo-class Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) program. The company won the $144.6 million contract in 2021 to build two of the option ships.
The yard is also contracted to build the steel Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter and design work for the T-AGOS(X) ocean surveillance ship.
In a statement last month, Gregg said the issues with the Navajo ships were unrelated to the other steel projects.