Does He Still Haunt Boeing?
By ANN Senior Editor Pete Combs
Suddenly jobless at 68, ousted from the presidency of the
world's largest aerospace company by something as deeply personal
as a sex scandal and staring divorce in the face, any other man in
Harry Stonecipher's position might be trying to cope with the end
of his world.
So why, then, is Stonecipher smiling?
Just five days after being ousted as president and CEO of
Boeing, Stonecipher was in Naples, FL, for a speech to a civic
organization -- unabashed, unrepentant and talking about the
company as if he were still at the helm.
"What a great gathering," Stonecipher said at the beginning of
his remarks before the Forum Club of Naples. "I don't know if
you came to see if he was real or whether he would show
If Stonecipher showed
any regret in his off-the-cuff remarks, it was that he wouldn't be
able to mark an important anniversary in his career. "I've been in
this business -- it'll be 50-years on March 29th. I'm not going to
make 50 years unless I find another job between now and then.
Finding a job has never been particularly a problem."
Perhaps the source of Stonecipher's good cheer is in his wallet
(although the divorce suit filed by his wife, Joan, in Chicago at
the very same time he was speaking could put a dent in that good
cheer). Leading McDonnell Douglas into its merger with Boeing
netted Stonecipher some 1.17 million shares of Boeing stock. Look
at the price per share -- currently around $52. Stonecipher has a
few shekels to rub together.
"It's terrific," he said.
Boeing may itself be
scandal-ridden -- an issue that's taken up quite a few megabytes of
bandwidth here at ANN -- but Stonecipher was bullish in his remarks
Friday. "We have an awful lot of really, really smart people [at
Boeing] that do some really, really good things.... If you look at
Boeing today, business that was, three-and-a-half, four years ago,
was $500 million a year is $4.5 billion this year," he said,
describing the merger between McDonnell Douglas and Boeing. "If you
look at Boeing today, we're 60-percent 'integrated defense systems
business'... and it's a $30-32 billion a year business and the
commercial business will be $22 billion this year."
Does that sound like a man tossed out on his ear?
(All this week, Senior Editor Pete Combs will write on the
aviation industry according to Stonecipher -- where the former
Boeing CEO will talk about business aviation, defense and his
legacy at the aerospace giant. -- ed.)