Boeing changes executive lineup as CFO gains power; legal and compliance combined

Manufacturer says shifts to prepare for post-COVID-19 pandemic industry

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Troubled American plane maker Boeing shook up some of its executive team it said on Tuesday (21 April) to streamline senior leadership roles and responsibilities and lay the groundwork to deal with what the industry will look like when the world comes out of its COVID-19 pandemic lockdown that has virtually grounded commercial aviation around the world. The company said the new changes will take effect on 1 May.

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Boeing said it will start preparations to restart production on its 737 MAX model that has been grounded for more than a year after two crashes killed 346 people.(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Boeing has created a new Enterprise Operations, Finance & Strategy group that “will consolidate several important areas, bringing together teams responsible for manufacturing, supply chain and operations, finance, enterprise performance, strategy, enterprise services and administration”, the company in a statement. The group will be headed up by Greg Smith, executive vice president for Enterprise Operations and chief financial officer. The group is tasked with refining the company’s supply chain with “lean principles” and with restoring “production and supply chain health as Boeing and the broader aerospace industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic”, the company said.

Greg Smith, Boeing’s chief financial officer. (PHOTO: Boeing)

Boeing said its Corporate Audit unit will join Smith’s new group and continue to report directly to the Boeing board of directors audit committee. Jenette Ramos, senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Operations, has been put on a “special assignment” in support of Smith and Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. The details of that assignment were not defined in the statement and Ramos is expected to retire in the not-too-distant future. The moves mean Smith, at 53, has steadily expanded his role since being appointed chief financial officer in 2011. Within three years he was given the added title of executive vice president responsible for business development and company strategy, then later given oversight of all Boeing manufacturing operations.

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A Boeing factory in Everett, Washington. Boeing is planning to restart production on a limited basis soon. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

The company said it is also combining its legal and core compliance programs, including global trade controls, ethics and business conduct, into a single organisation led by Brett Gerry, chief legal officer and executive vice president of Global Compliance. The company said the new organisation will “help the company proactively address new legal and compliance obligations arising from an increasingly complex global regulatory environment”.  Boeing said it will “soon” name a chief compliance officer who will be responsible for leading the company’s compliance, ethics and trade control activities. This person will report to Gerry, with a direct reporting line to Calhoun and the board’s audit committee on compliance and ethics issues.

Boeing also announced that its Government Operations unit, led by Executive Vice President Tim Keating, will assume responsibility for the company’s Global Spectrum Management activities, to “ensure the safe, efficient and compliant use of radio frequency spectrum in Boeing products and operations”.

“I am confident these changes will drive greater alignment among our functions; better equip our commercial, defence and space, and services businesses to deliver on customer commitments in a changing marketplace; and support our continuous efforts to develop talent through challenging leadership assignments,” said Calhoun.

The company also said Diana Sands, senior vice president of the Office of Internal Governance and Administration, has decided to retire from Boeing later this year after nearly 20 years with the company.

The departure of Ramos and Sands leaves just two women on the now 12-member executive council: Leanne Caret, who heads the defence and space division; and Wendy Livingston, head of human resources.

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Asian Aviation
Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.

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