Boeing has appointed a career diplomat and investment banker as its political fixer in the UK.

Sir Michael Jenkins is the company's 14th country or regional president: high-profile ambassadors recruited to extend Boeing's "global footprint" under senior vice-president international relations Tom Pickering.

Pickering, who will announce a country president for France "shortly", admits part of the local presidents' role will be to repair damaged relationships with the USA and its leading companies caused by rifts over the Iraq war.

A former UK ambassador to the Netherlands and vice-chairman of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, Jenkins' priorities will be to "build a more defined Boeing profile in the UK and enhance the relationship with the Ministry of Defence," says Pickering. "I know what buttons to press," adds Jenkins.

Jenkins will also investigate acquisition opportunities among Boeing's 200 UK suppliers and other technology companies. Any take-overs will be a "strategic fit". Boeing will not invest just for "presence", he says.

Boeing plans to appoint about six more local presidents this year in, among others, India, the Middle East and Latin America.

Source: Flight International