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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 13:50 GMT
Boeing chief quits unexpectedly
Phil Condit
Phil Condit, the chief executive and chairman of US aerospace giant Boeing, has resigned.

Mr Condit said he had offered his resignation in order "to put the distractions and controversies of the past year behind us."

Boeing, the world's biggest airplane manufacturer, is struggling to draw a line under a string of scandals.

The firm has admitted spying on rival Lockheed Martin, and last week fired its finance boss for unethical conduct.

Harry Stonecipher, the former head of McDonnell Douglas, has taken over as Boeing chief executive, while Lewis Platt, ex-boss of Hewlett Packard, has assumed the role of chairman.

Espionage

The management shake-up follows the surprise dismissal last week of Boeing finance chief Mike Sears, seen as Mr Condit's most likely successor.

Boeing is taking this whole corporate governance thing very seriously
Nick Fothergill, Banc of America Securities

Mr Sears was fired after it emerged that he had negotiated the recruitment of an air force procurement official while she was still working at the Pentagon.

Mr Sears has denied all wrongdoing.

But the episode cast a fresh cloud over Boeing less than six months after it transpired that the firm may have won lucrative US air force contracts by illegally acquiring information from arch-rival Lockheed Martin.

In July, the air force stripped Boeing of $1bn in contracts, and reallocated them to Lockheed.

Mr Stonecipher stressed that Boeing's core businesses were in good shape.

"We have the right strategy. The task before us is to execute," he said.

"Boeing is a great company with tremendous capabilities to define the future in each of our markets."

New broom

Analysts said the management reshuffle underlined Boeing's determination to clean up its image.

"Boeing is taking this whole corporate governance thing very seriously," said Nick Fothergill at Banc of America Securities.

"They're proving to their prime customer - the government - that they have really taken this in the most serious way possible by firing the chief financial officer, and the chief executive officer resigning."

Boeing has also been hit by a sharp downturn in sales as struggling airlines cut back on new orders for passenger jets.

The firm is at risk of being overtaken by Europe's Airbus as the world's biggest maker of commercial aircraft.

Boeing shares fell 1.8% to $37.70 in early trade on Wall Street.




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SEE ALSO:
Ex-Boeing chief denies wrongdoing
26 Nov 03  |  Business
Boeing fires its finance chief
24 Nov 03  |  Business
Defence sales lift Boeing
29 Oct 03  |  Business
Boeing punished for spying
24 Jul 03  |  Business


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