William E. Haggett resigned as chairman of Bath Iron Works, saying his departure would safeguard the shipyard’s future as an important Navy contractor after his admitted breach of business ethics.
Nine days after he stepped down as chief executive following the photocopying of a Navy document containing information about a rival yard, Haggett, 57, severed all ties with the Bath, Me., firm, ending a 28-year career at the company where his father worked as a pipefitter.
Two vice presidents involved in the photocopying, David N. Packhem, 33, and Allan L. Fairfield, 35, also stepped down in turnover that Bath said was voluntary and not a response to Navy pressure.
The resignations took effect immediately. Haggett cleared his desk and left Bath by midday. He could not be reached for comment.
Duane D. Fitzgerald, Haggett’s successor as chief executive, said in a statement explaining Haggett’s resignation that, as a defense contractor, Bath must “meet the highest ethical standards and avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”
Haggett resigned after revealing that he had violated ethical standards by ordering the photocopying of a “business sensitive” document that a Navy consultant had inadvertently left in the company’s conference room after a meeting in May.
The document contained cost comparisons of the work on the Navy’s AEGIS destroyer program by the Maine shipbuilder and its only other competitor for the AEGIS contracts, Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Miss.
Bath, the nation’s fourth-largest shipbuilder with a $2-billion backlog of work, specializes in the construction of high-tech warships for the Navy and depends on the government for 90% of its work.