Boeing has reiterated its commitment to get tough on sleaze, with its top lawyer warning of a worst case scenario of losing US defence contracts if it perceived as corrupt.

Doug Bain Boeing portraitThe details emerged after the Seattle Times newspaper published a transcript of a speech delivered by the airframer's general counsel Doug Bain (pictured left) to the top 260 Boeing executives in Orlando, Florida early last month. Bain warned that the "culture of win at any cost" had led to some errors of ethical judgment that led to a series of recent scandals that saw two senior executives being fired.

Thirteen further Boeing vice presidents have been removed for breaching the company's ethical code of conduct since its inception in 2003, Bain added. "There are some within the prosecutors' offices that believe that Boeing is rotten to the core," he says. This view has already jeopardised US contracts such as the US Air Force's 767 aerial-refuelling tanker and could lead to further defence losses.

Faced with this, Boeing says Bain's speech (the transcript of which it describes as "accurate") was meant to shock the executives and was part of its revived efforts to ram its ethical code of conduct home to employees.

"Over the past three years we have introduced wide-ranging series of ethical measures; we take ethical behaviour extremely seriously," the company says. These measures include annual "recommitment training" followed by a signed vow of compliance with the ethics code, which covers business conduct, business courtesies and acceptable behaviour, Boeing adds.

The company says Bain's remarks were intended to be "highly provocative" and "intended to remind people that while we continue to do lots of good work improving ethical business conduct, there are still some issues outstanding".

External link:
Read The Seattle Times's transcript of Boeing's General Counsel Doug Bain's speech, delivered at Boeing Leadership Meeting on 5 January in Orlando, Florida

Source: Flight International