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The New Boeing CEO Must Be an Airplane Geek, Not Just a Bean Counter

As Boeing prepares for a leadership change later this year, the incoming CEO faces an immense challenge: orchestrating a profound cultural shift within the company’s vast workforce of over 170,000 employees, a significant portion of whom are engineers. ( More...

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Chris B 16
Many levels of geek.

I'd rather someone who was "hands on" and not sitting in a cushy office thousands of miles from the Engineers and assembly halls.
jmilleratp 13
Competent and of sound mind would be the two top qualities I think would be best for this position. Considering what they've been getting for CEO's most recently.
hal pushpak 12
I remember when Steve Jobs hired a bean counter from Pepsi (or somewhere) to run Apple. Nearly bankrupted Apple.
Alan Dahl 3
That's because the bean counter turned on Jobs and pushed him out of the company. Apple wasn't successful again until Jobs came back a decade later and pulled the same deal in reverse.
airguideonline 1
Yes, exactly, 100% agree, very similar situation
matt jensen 8
Not gonna happen. How many on the present board are aircraft geeks?
sparkie624 4
hard to say, but I would guess they would be the Minority!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Steve Smith 4
"Must be"? Unfortunately for customers and employees, it's the stockholders, which are mostly giant financial firms, who decide who the CEO is. And they couldn't care less about anything other than driving short-term profit, so they can sell more mutual funds, keep their pension plans afloat, and attract more of the filthy rich to their hedge funds.
Joe Keifer 3
He or she must be well-versed and trained in safety to begin instilling a positive and improving safety culture throughout the organization.
21voyageur 3
But remember, , , , the Board has one employee and that is the CEO. Unless s/he can convince the Board of a "new vision", they will not be hired.
bobinson66 2
Maybe they just need a CEO who doesn't spent 65 billion dollars on stock buybacks so that he can reach his bonus incentive.
Domingo Mojica 1
It's not only Boeing, add the suppliers base to the need of having engineers as their CEO.
DouglasBoyd Boyd 1
My wife and I will not fly a Boeing aircraft to Europe now. We think the A350s are the best. Boeing is broken.
Perry Ramsey 1
It's possible that the top person doesn't have to be an airplane person, but the person most responsible for getting airplanes out the door must be, and the corporate leadership has to respect the position.

Back when General Motors was a good company that's how it worked, as envisioned by Alfred Sloan. The chief executive ran corporate headquarters and looked after the finances. The division heads were all car people, who understood production and sales. Nobody at corporate told the divisions what to build or how to build it, but they did hold the division presidents responsible for financial success of their division. You can read John DeLorean's book "On a clear day, you can see General Motors" for how this was supposed to work, and some examples of how this was breaking down in the 70s.

Of course every company is run by bean counters, lawyers, and financial manipulators these days. If it's not it already got LBOed by some Wall Street operation that was run by bean counters, lawyers, and financial manipulators.
Gene Joy 1
A perfect world would be a great bean counter that knew which end of a shovel is the handle. Just because you can pass tests doesn't mean you're ready for the world you chose. Boots on the ground is still the best way to understand how to grow. And with Boeing they have to dig out of a hole to consider climbing back to the top.
N107Sugar 1
Love how Boeing top execs fly in Bombardier aircraft. What do they know we don’t?
jgoedker 1
One of Boeings and Airbus largest customers is advising against Boeing installing an engineer to head the company. There may be some truth that a love of aviation is a good thing to possess but the bottom line is what keeps the lights on is profits. Was it Airbus' love of aviation that brought them to build the A380? That decision could have bankrupted that company. A great airplane, but not financially successful. And perhaps the only thing keeping Airbus in black ink is the problems at Boeing. In the end, it was the engineers at Boeing that could have said no to the MAX series. They didn't.
rmchambers 4
If plugs keep flying off and MCAS issues on MAX's keep showing up it won't matter what kind of bean counter you have in the CEO's chair, profits will plummet. Who would you rather have directing operations at a hospital? a doctor or an accountant ?
21voyageur 4
I was with you till the statement "And perhaps the only thing keeping Airbus in black ink is the problems at Boeing". Airbus was preverbally winning the game before the MAX issues
Michael Urbanek -1
My eye picked up the word "equity" as soon as I opened the article. I was pleased to see that he intended it to mean earned value for services provided and not free stuff for lazy people. But then he promoted making zero-emissions aircraft a priority. For crying out loud - Boeing can't keep pieces of the aircraft from falling off in flight. Let's start at the beginning. Dream later.
Joe Keifer -1
geek /gēk/


1. A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy.

2. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.

3. A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.

That being said, I am not sure an "airplane geek" is the best choice for the new CEO of Boeing.


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