WASHINGTON, July 26 Boeing Co said on
Friday it was rotating five executives in its commercial
airplanes division, including Mike Sinnett, the chief engineer
on the company's 787 Dreamliner, which was banned from flight
earlier this year after its battery system showed a risk of
Sinnett will become vice president of product development,
while Bob Whittington, now the chief engineer on Boeing's 777
airliner, will take over as chief project engineer for the 787,
the company said in a note to employees.
The memo said the moves were intended to give each of the
five people involved an opportunity to broaden their experience,
increasing "the bench strength of our teams."
Sinnett was the face of the 787 during the stormy months
this year when regulators grounded the plane after two
lithium-ion batteries burned on two of the high-tech 787s in
less than two weeks.
The $207 million, 250-seat plane returned to the skies in
April only to be beset by further issues. On July 12, a parked
787 owned by Ethiopian Airlines caught fire at Heathrow airport.
Investigators traced that incident to pinched wires in an
emergency beacon and regulators instructed airlines to inspect
or replace the units. Since then, other reports of fires have
"There is never a perfect time to make changes," said Mike
Delaney, vice president of engineering, about the timing of the
He said the timing reflected Boeing's effort to spread its
engineering base into three "independent but cooperative"
centers in Washington state, South Carolina and Southern
Spokesman Marc Birtel said the shift in responsibilities was
"in no way punitive."
Boeing said Larry Schneider will be the vice president and
chief project engineer for the 777, succeeding Bob Whittington.
Schneider was previously deputy chief project engineer on the
Todd Zarfos will be vice president of engineering functions
and leader of the Washington state design center, succeeding Dan
Mooney, who was recently named vice president of the South
Carolina design center. Boeing is looking to fill Zarfos' role
as vice president of engineer for commercial aviation services.
John Hamilton, the vice president of regulatory
administration, will add the role of aviation safety and