Boeing Boss Allegedly Gets Caught with Pants Down. Party in Toulouse!

In the Hutong
Beneath the Departure Path for PEK Rwy 18R

Harry Stonecipher’s abrupt departure from Boeing – and its salacious cause – will certainly garner much mirth around the world, but nowhere more so than Airbus headquarters in Toulouse.

The French and Germans must be laughing their heads off. The Germans are laughing because they have learned the hard way the cost of relieving a competent commander in the middle of a fight, regardless of his peccadilloes.

And of course, the French are laughing because if one of them had done what Stonecipher is accused of doing, they’d expect a promotion or a raise.

Stonecipher won’t be missed by the Boeing rank and file, but you know what? It’s nice if the troops like you, but I would worry about a leader eager to curry favor with the troops.

I just hope they replace him, and soon. Airbus has had a ridiculously good romp, and it’s been by default – Boeing achieved almost nothing of note in the 14-year long dry spell twixt the 777 and the 787 , while Airbus has done what Boeing used to be quite good at – mixing experience, leading technology, and deep customer relations to create great products.

It’s high time Boeing had a leader who can brilliantly synthesize all of that great raw material into the aerospace powerhouse the company should be. Clearly, ol’ Harry (whose previous claim to fame as CEO was to sell McDonnell-Douglas to Boeing) was not the guy.

Over the next 20 years, China is collectively sitting atop orders for 2,300 or so aircraft, equivalent to about six years production of either Boeing or Airbus. By fundamentally rejecting Russian designs, the government and the airlines are essentially saying they want more technologically robust aircraft. While both Airbus and Boeing will both get orders, somebody will own the larger chunk of the purchases. The only way Boeing will do that is by being perceived as the stronger player. And right now, from Beijing, Boeing not only looks weak, it looks lame.


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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