Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner leaves post abruptly

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After almost three years on the job
  • Praise and thanks for Conner
  • Kevin McAllister takes over
  • Conner will remain as vice chairman at Boeing Commercial Airplanes

( — Chicago, Illinois, November 21, 2016 — Ray Conner, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, leaves the position. It is an abrupt change. As announced by The Boeing Company in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, November 21, 2016, Raymond L. (Ray) Conner leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, a maker of jet airliners and business jets, in a surprising move after almost three years on the job, effective immediately.

No company wants a CEO to flame out in the first years.

Conner’s duties are taken over by Kevin G. McAllister, most recently president and CEO at GE Aviation Services.

The fact that Conner’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

For the first time in Boeing’s history, it is going outside the company to find a replacement for the Chief Executive Officer of its Commercial Airplanes division.

The move is part of a management shake-up.

No reason given

In the announcement, The Boeing Company did not explicitly explain the obviously compelling reason for Conner’s sudden move, opening the door for speculation.

“Retirement timeline in sight”

“With Ray Conner’s retirement timeline in sight and an expanding global services market to pursue, these moves will further strengthen and grow Boeing and better serve our customers, employees, shareholders and other partners in the years ahead,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

“His decision to step down”

The Boeing Company said: “On November 16, 2016, Raymond L. Conner notified The Boeing Company of his decision to step down as President and Chief Executive Officer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.”

The Boeing Company also said: “Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg today named Kevin G. McAllister president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, succeeding company Vice Chairman Ray Conner in that role.”

Conner will remain as vice chairman at Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Conner will continue to serve as Boeing vice chairman through 2017.

He will work closely with McAllister in the months ahead on a purposeful hand-off of customer, supplier, and community and government relationships, and to ensure continuity of operations and customer support.

Conner also will provide strategic oversight and guidance for the company’s transition to a single integrated services business and remain involved in ongoing product development strategy at Commercial Airplanes.

Chaired by Dennis Muilenburg

The Boeing Company is chaired by Dennis Muilenburg.

Muilenburg has been the Chief Executive Officer of The Boeing Company since July 2015 and has been its Chairman since March 1, 2016.

On the job as CEO since 2013

Conner served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Inc. at The Boeing Company since December 2013.

Conner has been corporate vice chairman since 2013, and president and CEO of Commercial Airplanes since 2012.

A 39-year company veteran who started as a mechanic on the 727 program, he has held roles that span production, program management, supply chain management, and sales and marketing.

As BCA president and CEO, he was responsible for delivering on a record backlog and overseeing the growth of its airplane programs and services. Boeing Commercial Airplanes accounts for more than 60 percent of Boeing’s total revenues and has nearly 12,000 commercial jetliners in service worldwide, which is roughly 75 percent of the world fleet.

Prior to that assignment, Conner had responsibility for leading Sales, Marketing and Commercial Aviation Services for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, having been appointed to the position in August 2011.

Prior to that, Conner was vice president and general manager of Supply Chain Management and Operations for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Appointed to the position in December 2008, he was responsible for overall leadership of Commercial Airplanes Supplier Management, Fabrication and Propulsion Systems and the Manufacturing and Quality functional organization.

For the year before that assignment, Conner was vice president of Sales for Commercial Airplanes, with responsibility for the sale of commercial airplanes and related services to airlines and leasing customers around the world.

Between February 2003 and December 2007, Conner was vice president of Sales for the Americas. As such, he was responsible for the Boeing business relationships with airline customers in North America and Latin America and for the sale of commercial airplanes to customers in those regions.

Before that assignment, Conner was vice president and general manager of the 777 program, beginning in June 2001.

Before leading the 777 Program, Conner was vice president of Asia/Pacific Sales for Commercial Airplanes. In that role, Conner led the Asia/Pacific sales team and was responsible for maintaining Boeing’s business relationships with Asia/Pacific airlines and Asian aerospace industries.

He also was responsible for the operation of Boeing offices in China, Japan and Korea.

In addition, Conner served as vice president and general manager of the 747 program, overseeing a team that managed the design, development certification and production of the 747 airplane.

Before that assignment, Conner was vice president of the Propulsion Systems Division, where he led the development of propulsion systems and auxiliary power units for the entire Boeing family of commercial airplanes.

Before leading Propulsion Systems, Conner was director of Finance and Information Systems for the Materiel Division of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

There, he was responsible for developing and implementing strategies to lower costs and achieve higher productivity in the procurement of contracts from suppliers around the world.

Conner also oversaw information systems support for remote site networking, electronic commerce and workstation upgrades.

Previously, Conner held various other management positions in the company, including deputy director of Major Outside Production and Program Participants, and of International Business Operations, both in the Materiel Division.

As the Boeing Commercial Airplanes sales director for Thailand, Conner led a group working with the U.S. Government on political issues affecting the company.

Conner joined the company in 1977 as a mechanic on the 727 program.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University and a master’s of business administration from the University of Puget Sound.

Conner is a member of the board of directors for Johnson Controls, Inc.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Ray Conner’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the report 44.2016 ($).