Boeing announced on Monday that Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner will retire by the end of 2017, replaced by General Electric senior executive Kevin McAllister.
The news comes as a break from what we've seen from Boeing's commercial airplane business - namely, bringing in an outsider as chief of Boeing's single biggest business: making jetliners.
Ray Conner is the ultimate insider and grew up inside the company. He got his start on the 727 assembly line in Renton and rose through the ranks. He's also been at the controls through some very tumultuous times, including 2013 and 2014, when the Machinists Union had to vote on whether to accept contract changes or risk the new Boeing 777X being built in another state.
Conner will remain as vice chairman of the company, overseeing the transition to Kevin McAllister.
McAllister does not come from inside Boeing, but rather from General Electric's sizeable aviation business, which among other things, builds jet engines. One one hand, he should know Boeing very well as planes from the 737 to the 747 use engines built whole or in part by G.E.
KING asked Boeing Chairman Dennis Muilenburg if this outside appointment could bring anxiety to Puget Sound:
"You can see us making investments in the community here, to show you we're here for the long run...There is an advantage as we bring in external talent, new ideas, different perspectives, things that are complimentary to our team here. With Kevin (McAllister), we have the best of both worlds. We're bringing in somebody with fresh ideas and perspectives and somebody who also knows Boeing well and has a great deal of respect for our team here in Puget Sound."
Muillenburg himself spent the first 15 years of his career in Puget Sound, having started off as an engineering intern.