By Alwyn Scott
NEW YORK Oct 10 Boeing Co said on
Thursday that it will restructure its commercial airplane
strategy and marketing functions, just days after the company
lost a $9.5 billion order in Japan, previously its most secure
The action, announced in a memo by Boeing Commercial
Airplane Chief Executive Ray Conner that was obtained by
Reuters, follows Japan Airlines Co Ltd's decision on
Monday to pick Airbus planes to replace its Boeing 777s, rather
than the next-generation Boeing 777X model.
"You probably wouldn't have seen this happen if they had won
JAL," said Ron Epstein, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill
"Boeing is looking at their sales strategy" following the
Japanese loss, he added.
Conner linked the shifts to the retirement of Boeing veteran
Mike Bair, who he said leave Nov. 1, relinquishing his role
overseeing the marketing and strategy groups.
In the new structure, marketing functions under Bair would
be shifted to the sales group and led by marketing Vice
President Randy Tinseth, who would report to global sales chief
Strategy and business development functions will shift to
the finance group, and will be led by Kevin Schemm, who will be
head of finance and strategy.
Boeing confirmed the memo is accurate but declined to
Bair, a 34-year Boeing veteran who began his career as an
engineer, rose to head the 787 Dreamliner program during its
initial troubled period, when the company outsourced production
of major components to suppliers around the world.
Bair stepped down as head of the 787 program in 2007, when
the program was about six months behind schedule, taking up his
current role as chief of market and strategy.
Production problems ultimately delayed the 787's entry into
service by 3-1/2 years beyond its original schedule. Since then,
the plane has suffered a series of problems, including burning
batteries on two Dreamliners that prompted regulators to ground
the entire fleet in January. Flights resumed in April after
Boeing redesigned the battery system.
On Thursday, Norwegian Air Shuttle revealed that
Boeing had recently redesigned another part - a hydraulic pump
that activates wing flaps that steer the plane - after the unit
failed repeatedly on a new 787 that the budget Nordic airline
received in August.
The plane's performance was "fantastic," when it flew,
Norwegian Air Chief Executive Bjorn Kjos told Reuters in an
But the plane with the faulty pump was unreliable and needed
to be serviced every other day. Boeing spent two weeks
overhauling it, installing a redesigned pump, he said.