Scott Carson plans to follow the leadership path developed by his predecessor at Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) after being appointed as president and chief executive following the abrupt departure of Alan Mulally to Ford Motor Company, where he has taken the role of chief executive.
Boeing rebuffs suggestions that Mulally's move could spark a wave of high-level defections, possibly including top executives such as James Albaugh, president of the underperforming Integrated Defense Systems sector. Although some at the company do not rule out the possibility of a number of Mulally's ex-colleagues joining their former leader at Ford, Boeing says "obviously this was a unique opportunity for Alan Mulally given the size and scope of the challenge. He took it and it was relevant to him."
Carson, whose immediate priority is to name a successor for his former position as sales vice-president at BCA, says: "The machine at Boeing Commercial Airplanes is running very well. I don't anticipate you'll see anything different other than style points." The popular executive, whose former jobs included chief financial officer of BCA as well as the first president of Connexion by Boeing, is being promoted along with James Jamieson, who assumes the newly created position of chief operating officer. Describing the leadership changes, Boeing chairman, president and chief executive Jim McNerney says: "In Jim's role, he will have airplane programmes, manufacturing and engineering reporting to him, while Scott will have services, corporate functions, marketing and business development."
Although this effectively means that Mulally's former responsibilities are being split with a "sharing of duties", McNerny reaffirms Carson's overall lead by adding that "Scott is firmly in charge of the businesses". Jamieson, who was formerly the Chicago-based senior vice-president engineering, operations and technology, will therefore report to Carson and "oversee airplane operations and product development", adds the company.
Although most of the company and the industry at large were caught off guard by Mulally's sudden departure, many observers have predicted just such a move ever since he was passed over for the role of Boeing chief executive in favour of McNerny in 2005. McNerny says: "Alan is a terrific leader, and we knew this was a possibility so we had thought this through very carefully - that's why we're implementing this near-term plan."