Boeing Company has announced that they have chosen a new chief executive officer, Dennis Muilenburg, to succeed McNerney, who is retiring after ten years as CEO. Muilenburg already has a long to-do list of decisions that he hopes will help reshape the world’s largest aircraft maker. Two of the biggest decisions he’ll have to make are right around the corner. He will have to decide whether or not to pursue a USD$10 billion takeover of Sikorsky Aircraft as well as deciding if the company will move forward on a brand new jetliner and either keep or cancel the well-known 747 jumbo, the model nicknamed the “Queen of the Skies.”
Michel Merluzeau, vice president for global aerospace development at consulting firm Frost & Sullivan Inc., released a statement about the change in leadership: “McNerney did the really hard job. He changed Boeing to the core. With Muilenburg, I’d say, ‘OK, the storm has passed. Where do we go from here?'"
According to Muilenburg himself during a phone interview, one of the biggest challenges he will face as the new CEO will be setting a course for the $60 billion commercial plane company as well as navigating a difficult global marketplace. “The greatest opportunity that we have ahead of us is the strong commercial market,” Muilenburg said, nodding to plans to boost the monthly output of the 737 and 787 jets to new highs.
Rob Stallard, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, believes that Muilenburg will face tough decisions that will affect Boeing’s commercial jet line-up and defense portfolio. These decisions include whether to pare output for the 777, one of Boeing’s most-profitable models, ahead of the successor 777X next decade. In addition, he will have to decide whether or not to invest in a replacement for the Boeing 757 which had been out of production. Muilenburg is a trained engineer from Iowa who started as an intern at the Chicago Boeing location and worked his way up. One of his biggest successes as defense chief was scoring a contract to build the Air Force’s new refueling tanker.
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