July 24, 2015 / 8:57 PM / 4 years ago

Boeing names new head of 787 program, signals continuity

Boeing 787 Dreamliners being built for various airlines are pictured in Everett, Washington August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N) on Friday named Mark Jenks as head of its flagship 787 Dreamliner passenger jet program, succeeding Larry Loftis, who will retire at the end of July.

Jenks, who has been the program’s deputy head since January, will take over as its vice president and general manager, Boeing said. Loftis has had a 35-year career at the company. Jenks has been with the 787 program almost since its inception, Boeing said.

The world’s biggest plane maker said the leadership change does not reflect an effort to shake up the 787 program, which has generated about $27.7 billion in losses due to be worked off as Boeing builds more of the planes.

Boeing has said the 787 will generate cash by year-end and turn profitable in 2016, after Boeing lifts production to 12 a month. The company loses about $23 million on each 787 that leaves the factory, and is looking at a range of ways to cut production costs, including targeting one of the high-tech Dreamliner’s key ingredients: titanium.

Before his role as 787 deputy general manager, Jenks led development, testing and certification on an extended version of the plane, the 787-9, and design definition of another, still larger derivation, the 787-10. His background includes work on the International Space Station and in Boeing’s helicopter division.

Loftis took over as head of the 787 program in 2012, shepherding it through production challenges shortly after the plane entered service in late 2011. Loftis previously ran the 777 program.

Boeing said the ages of both executives were not available.

Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Christian Plumb

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