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Ray Conner to replace James Albaugh as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Raymond L. Conner has been appointed president and CEO of Renton-based Boeing Commercial Airplanes to replace James F. Albaugh, who is retiring.
The announcement was made Tuesday by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney.
Conner, 57, a 34-year company veteran who began his career as an airplane mechanic, moves to the leadership post from senior vice president, Sales and Customer Support for Commercial Airplanes, according to a Boeing press release.
Albaugh, 62, will retire from the company Oct. 1, after 37 years of service.
In a statement, Renton Mayor Denis Law said the City of Renton “is pleased” with Conner’s appointment.
“Mr. Conner is from the Renton area and has worked his way through many levels and business lines of the company,” said Law, playing a key role in the decision to build the 737 MAX in Renton that will keep thousands of aerospace workers employed in Renton and throughout the region for many years.
"We look forward to working with him and his team and continuing to build on the strong partnership that we have with The Boeing Co.," Law said.
Boeing has been in Renton for 70 years, building the 707, the first commercial jetliner, and the 737, the world's most-popular airplane, at its production plant.
"We are extremely proud of our history with Boeing and we are working hard to ensure its continued success," Law said.
Law also thanked Albaugh for his years of service to Boeing and the aerospace industry.
“It was under Mr. Albaugh’s leadership that historic agreements were made resulting in a significantly strengthened aerospace industry across Washington state, including continued historic 737 production in Renton,” he said.
"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."
Prior to leading global Sales and Customer Support, 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, according to the press release.
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.
Gov. Chris Gregoire Tuesday called Albaugh "one of the finest chief executive officers in the nation, and one I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know well.
"His departure is a huge loss to Boeing, and the men and women that make up the company. Under his leadership, Boeing has achieved historic success – including record sales, increased production rates, a landmark labor agreement, and the landing of the U.S. Air Force refueling tanker. We should all be proud of his work and his accomplishments."
And, in a press release Gregoire said she welcomes Conner as the new president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"Ray has spent his career at Boeing, and knows every aspect of the company. He will be a tremendous asset in this role. I hope to see him at the Farnborough Air Show next month and look forward to working with him in the future," she said.
Albaugh joined Boeing in 1975 in what was then Rockwell Corporation's defense and space business, which Boeing acquired in 1996. During his career, he served as president of Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power, president and CEO of Boeing Space and Communications, and president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
Albaugh will continue to report to McNerney while assisting with the transition to Conner until the effective date of his retirement. "We thank Jim for his many years of service in our defense, space and security businesses and, most recently, to Boeing Commercial Airplanes where he helped ensure the certification and successful entry into service of the 787 Dreamliner and 747-8, and the launch of the 737 MAX," said McNerney.
The leadership change is effective immediately. A replacement for Conner will be named at a later date.