Boeing chairman Jim McNerney has confirmed James Albaugh will step down as head of the Commercial Airplanes division later this year, after 37 years of service with the company.
He will be replaced by Raymond Conner, who presently occupies the role of senior vice president, sales and customer support for the division.
The transition will take place immediately, with Albaugh expected to oversee the role until his retirement on October 1st.
Prior to leading global sales and customer support for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Conner served as vice president of supply chain management and operations, where he was responsible for business conducted with thousands of global suppliers, as well as the performance of the company’s in-house manufacturing, quality, fabrication and propulsion systems divisions.
This assignment included overseeing development of Boeing’s new production and assembly facilities in South Carolina.
“Ray’s breadth and depth of experience in commercial airplanes is unmatched in our industry,” said McNerney.
“He has built airplanes, sold airplanes, serviced airplanes, managed our largest programs, knows our customers extremely well, and is respected by our employees.
“He is the natural next leader of our growing commercial airplanes business and this move is consistent with our executive succession plan.”
Among many other leadership roles held during his career, Conner also served as vice president and general manager of the 777 and 747 programs, and vice president of sales for the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions.
Last year, he played a lead role in negotiating a landmark, four-year contract extension with Boeing’s largest union.
Conner joined Boeing in 1977 as a mechanic on the 727 program.
His appointment comes at an exiting time for Boeing, with record orders being received from emerging Middle Eastern carriers and legacy airlines seeking to over-haul their fleets.
Albaugh, it is reported decided to retire ahead of Boeing’s mandatory age of 65 after achieving his three stated goals.
Those were: helping win a $35 billion US Air Force tanker contract; overseeing the delayed commercial debuts of the Dreamliner and 747-8 jumbo jet; and securing the labour accord with Boeing’s biggest union.