SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Tuesday it picked the chief of its fastest-running assembly line to head the South Carolina factory where it makes the 787 Dreamliner.
Beverly Wyse, who streamlined the 737 factory in Renton, Washington, as Boeing increased output to 42 airliners a month, will become vice president and general manager of the second Dreamliner assembly site when manager Jack Jones retires in May, Boeing said.
The South Carolina factory makes about three planes a month, and was plagued with problems last year causing work to be finished on the main 787 line in Everett, Washington.
Boeing is trying to lower the cost of producing 787s since it still loses about $30 million on each plane it delivers, according to analysts. It is also ramping up production of the stretched 787-9 and eventually will introduce the 787-10.
“Bev Wyse is one of the best-regarded people at Boeing and in the industry,” said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at the Teal Group.
News of the change came as Airbus released 2014 figures showing it outsold Boeing on new orders, but that Boeing had delivered more aircraft.
“If you look at deliveries, Boeing clobbered Airbus in terms of dollar value,” he said. “The problem is a lot of those were 787s, which were money losers.”
Scott Campbell, who will succeed Wyse at the 737 factory in Renton, recently led Boeing’s 767 program, which is building the platform for the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force. The first flight of the 767-2C, the modified aircraft for that program, occurred on Dec. 28.
Since further production increases in the 737 line are not expected until 2017, the change did not pose an immediate concern.
“Boeing has been so proficient at growing the 737 line production with lean manufacturing and just in time (supply chain delivery) that I’m confident going forward,” said Scott Hamilton of consulting firm Leeham Co.
During his 35-year career at Boeing, Jones held leadership jobs on the 747, 757, 767 and 787, as well as the B-2 bomber, commercial and military programs for Air Force One, Boeing said.
Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Andre Grenon