Boeing promotes defense chief to chief operating officer

Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:53am EST
 
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By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) on Wednesday promoted Dennis Muilenburg, head of its defense division, to the post of president and chief operating officer, a move that company insiders and analysts said makes him "heir apparent" to Chief Executive Jim McNerney.

Muilenburg, 49, and Ray Conner, the 58-year old head of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes unit, were both named vice chairmen, Boeing said in a statement.

Boeing said Muilenburg would move to Chicago headquarters and share oversight of operations with McNerney. One source familiar with Boeing's planning said the promotion of Muilenburg over Conner made him heir apparent to McNerney, especially given his move to Chicago.

Boeing spokesman John Dern said McNerney, 64, had no plans to retire, but the changes should provide the board with a "range of viable options" when he eventually does retire.

"It's about putting the right leaders in the right places who can drive business performance," Dern said.

Muilenburg has been a vocal proponent of the "One Boeing" strategy, which seeks to better coordinate supply chain and other functions across the commercial and defense units. Boeing said its focus on bringing the parts of its business closer together was paying off in domestic and international markets, and had generated savings across the corporation.

"As Boeing scales up for growth, Muilenburg, as president and COO, will share with McNerney oversight of the company's business operations and focus on specific growth enablers, including important global relationships and development program performance," the company said.

Chris Chadwick, 53, who now heads Boeing's military aircraft unit, will succeed Muilenburg at the helm of Boeing's defense division, while Shelley Lavender, who runs Boeing's logistics business, will replace Chadwick as head of the military aircraft business, Boeing said in a statement.   Continued...

 
Boeing Defense, Space and Security CEO Dennis Muilenburg is pictured at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington, September 3, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed