Boeing wants to be more like Apple, CEO McNerney says

Wed May 21, 2014 4:45pm EDT
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By Alwyn Scott

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co Chief Executive Jim McNerney said the company wanted to be more like Apple Inc in the way it innovates, rather than doing a "moon shot" development every 25 years.

Speaking in Seattle at an annual conference with analysts on Wednesday, McNerney also said Boeing's (BA.N: Quote) job was to improve execution and productivity to cut costs and boost margins.

Building up technology and doing "a big a moon shot" every 25 years is the "the wrong way to pursue this business," McNerney said. "We want to be more like Apple" by bringing out products more quickly.

Chief Operating Officer Dennis Muilenburg expanded the Apple (AAPL.O: Quote) comparison, saying Boeing's 777X jet was an example of using evolutionary technology to create a revolutionary product.

"We're still going to deliver revolutionary capability," he told analysts at the conference. "The way we deliver is to build on technology we have. We get to the same end point if you take 10 low-risk, well-managed steps rather than one big step."

Apple has delivered a string of popular consumer electronic devices in the last decade, ranging from the MacBook notebook to the iPod Touch media player, the iPhone and the iPad tablet.

Boeing chose to adapt technology to its 777X and 737 MAX aircraft rather than developing all-new jetliners such as the 787, with more than $20 billion in deferred production costs.

Boeing's defense, space and security unit plans to cut $2 billion in the next five years and capture a "disproportionate share" of growing international markets, McNerney added.   Continued...

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney waits to be introduced to speak, in front of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner under construction as U.S. President Barack Obama (not pictured) toured the Boeing facility in Everett, Washington February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed