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   Technology StocksBoeing keeps setting new highs! When will it split?

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From: Thomas M.4/9/2024 11:49:51 AM
1 Recommendation   of 3675
“It’s an Empty Executive Suite”

An insider explains what has gone disastrously wrong with Boeing.

Boeing is—or was—a great company. From its manufacturing plants in Seattle, it produced the world’s most reliable, efficient aircraft. But after merging with McDonnell Douglas, shifting production around the world, and moving its headquarters to Chicago and then Arlington, Virginia, the Boeing Company has been adrift.

Then, in October 2018, one of Boeing’s new 737 MAX aircraft crashed. Then, a few months later, another. Recent months have seen embarrassing maintenance failures, including a door plug that blew off an Alaska Airlines plane in mid-flight.

To help explain what went wrong, I have been speaking with a Boeing insider who has direct knowledge of the company’s leadership decisions. He tells a story of elite dysfunction, financial abstraction, and a DEI bureaucracy that has poisoned the culture, creating a sense of profound alienation between the people who occupy the executive suite and those who build the airplanes.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Christopher Rufo: I am hoping you can set the stage. In general terms, what is happening at Boeing?

At its core, we have a marginalization of the people who build stuff, the people who really work on these planes.

In 2018, the first 737 MAX crash that happened, that was an engineering failure. We built a single-point failure in a system that should have no single-point failures. Then a second crash followed. A company cannot survive two crashes from a single aircraft type. Then-CEO Dennis Muilenburg defended the company in front of Congress, defended the engineering, defended the work—and that protected the workforce, but it also prodded the board and stoked public fear, which resulted in a sweeping set of changes that caused huge turnover in talent.

So, right now, we have an executive council running the company that is all outsiders. The current CEO is a General Electric guy, as is the CFO whom he brought in. And we have a completely new HR leader, with no background at Boeing. The head of our commercial-airplanes unit in Seattle, who was fired last week, was one of the last engineers in the executive council.

The headquarters in Arlington is empty. Nobody lives there. It is an empty executive suite. The CEO lives in New Hampshire. The CFO lives in Connecticut. The head of HR lives in Orlando. We just instituted a policy that everyone has to come into work five days a week—except the executive council, which can use the private jets to travel to meetings. And that is the story: it is a company that is under caretakers. It is not under owners. And it is not under people who love airplanes.

In this business, the workforce knows if you love the thing you are building or if it’s just another set of assets to you. At some point, you cannot recover with process what you have lost with love. And I think that is probably the most important story of all. There is no visible center of the company, and people are wondering what they are connected to.

Rufo: If they have lost the love of building airplanes, what is the love, if any, that they bring to the job?

Insider: Status games rule every boardroom in the country. The DEI narrative is a very real thing, and, at Boeing, DEI got tied to the status game. It is the thing you embrace if you want to get ahead. It became a means to power.

DEI is the drop you put in the bucket, and the whole bucket changes. It is anti-excellence, because it is ill-defined, but it became part of the culture and was tied to compensation. Every HR email is: “Inclusion makes us better.” This kind of politicization of HR is a real problem in all companies.

If you look at the bumper stickers at the factories in Renton or Everett, it’s a lot of conservative people who like building things—and conservative people do not like politics at work.

The radicalization of HR doesn’t hurt tech businesses like it hurts manufacturing businesses. At Google, they’re making a large profit margin and pursuing very progressive hiring policies. Because they are paying 30 percent or 40 percent more than the competition in salary, they are able to get the top 5 percent of whatever racial group they want. They can afford, in a sense, to pay the “DEI tax” and still find top people.

But this can be catastrophic in lower-margin or legacy companies. You are playing musical chairs, and if you do the same things that Google is doing, you are going to end up with the bottom 20 percent of the preferred population.

Rufo: What else does the public not understand about what is happening at Boeing?

Boeing is just a symptom of a much bigger problem: the failure of our elites. The purpose of the company is now “broad stakeholder value,” including DEI and ESG. This was then embraced as a means to power, which further separated the workforce from the company. And it is ripping our society apart.

Boeing is the most visible example because every problem—like, say, a bolt that falls off—gets amplified. But this is happening everywhere around us, and it is going to have a huge effect. DEI and ESG became a way to stop talking honestly to employees.

We need to tear off the veil of all this coded language that is being used everywhere, and our elites need to recover some sense of service to people. They think they have it already because they are reciting these shibboleths of moral virtue: “I am serving because I am repeating what everyone else is saying about DEI.” It’s a form of cheap self-love that is being embraced by leaders. If you pay the tax to the DEI gods or the ESG gods and use coded language with your workforce, it absolves you of the hard work of really leading.

No. Service means you are spending the extra time to understand what’s really happening in the factory and in your supply chain. There should be some honor in understanding that we inherited something beautiful and good and worth loving.


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From: John Koligman4/9/2024 2:33:37 PM
   of 3675
Man, when it rains it pours....

F.A.A. Investigates Claims by Boeing Whistle-Blower About Flaws in 787 Dreamliner
The whistle-blower, an engineer, says that sections of the plane’s body are being assembled in a way that could weaken the aircraft over time. Boeing says there is no safety issue.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a twin-aisle jet that is more fuel efficient than many other aircraft used for long trips, in part because of its lightweight composite construction.Credit...Pool photo by Reuters

By Mark Walker and James Glanz

Mark Walker reported from Washington, and James Glanz from New York.

April 9, 2024Updated 12:42 p.m. ET

Sign up for the On Politics newsletter. Your guide to the 2024 elections. Get it sent to your inbox.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating claims made by a Boeing engineer who says that sections of the fuselage of the 787 Dreamliner are improperly fastened together and could break apart mid-flight after thousands of trips.

The engineer, Sam Salehpour, who worked on the plane, detailed his allegations in interviews with The New York Times and in documents sent to the F.A.A. A spokesman for the agency confirmed that it was investigating the allegations but declined to comment on them.

Mr. Salehpour, whose résumé says he has worked at Boeing for more than a decade, said the problems with fastening the sections came about as a result of changes in how the enormous sections were fitted and fastened together in the manufacturing assembly line. The fuselages for the plane come in several pieces, all from different manufacturers, and they are not exactly the same shape where they fit together, he said.

Boeing concedes those manufacturing changes were made, but a spokesman for the company, Paul Lewis, said there was “no impact on durability or safe longevity of the airframe.”

Mr. Lewis said Boeing had done extensive testing on the Dreamliner and “determined that this is not an immediate safety of flight issue.”

“Our engineers are completing complex analysis to determine if there may be a long-term fatigue concern for the fleet in any area of the airplane,” Mr. Lewis said. “This would not become an issue for the in-service fleet for many years to come, if ever, and we are not rushing the team so that we can ensure that analysis is comprehensive.”

In a subsequent statement, Boeing said it was “fully confident in the 787 Dreamliner,” adding, “These claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are inaccurate and do not represent the comprehensive work Boeing has done to ensure the quality and long-term safety of the aircraft.”

Mr. Salehpour’s allegations add another element to the intense scrutiny that Boeing has been facing since a door panel blew off a 737 Max jet during an Alaska Airlines flight in early January, raising questions about the company’s manufacturing practices. Since then, the plane maker has announced a leadership overhaul, and the Justice Department has begun a criminal investigation.

Mr. Salehpour’s concerns are set to receive an airing on Capitol Hill later this month. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s investigations subcommittee, is planning to hold a hearing with Mr. Salehpour on April 17. Mr. Blumenthal said he wanted the flying public to hear from the engineer firsthand.

“Repeated, shocking allegations about Boeing’s manufacturing failings point to an appalling absence of safety culture and practices — where profit is prioritized over everything else,” Mr. Blumenthal said in a statement.

The Dreamliner is a wide-body jet that is more fuel efficient than many other aircraft used for long trips, in part because of its lightweight composite construction. First delivered in 2011, the twin-aisle plane has both racked up orders for Boeing and created headaches for the company. For years, the plane maker has dealt with a succession of issues involving the jet, including battery problems that led to the temporary grounding of 787s around the world.

Boeing has also confronted a slew of problems at its plant in South Carolina where the Dreamliner is built. A prominent Boeing whistle-blower who raised concerns about manufacturing practices at the plant, John Barnett, was found dead last month with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Dreamliner was a pioneer in using large amounts of so-called composite materials rather than traditional metal to build the plane, including major sections like the fuselage, as the aircraft’s body is known. Often made by combining materials like carbon and glass fibers, composites are lighter than metals but, as comparatively newer materials, less is known about how they hold up to the long-term stresses of flight. Those stresses create what engineers call fatigue, which can compromise safety if it causes the material to fail.

Mr. Salehpour said he was repeatedly retaliated against for raising concerns about shortcuts he believed the plane maker was taking in joining together the pieces of the Dreamliner’s fuselage.

Debra S. Katz, a lawyer for Mr. Salehpour, said that her client did everything possible to bring his concerns to the attention of Boeing officials. She added that company officials did not listen. Instead, she said that her client was silenced and transferred.

“This is the culture that Boeing has allowed to exist,” Ms. Katz said. “This is a culture that prioritizes production of planes and pushes them off the line even when there are serious concerns about the structural integrity of those planes and their production process.”

In its statement, Boeing said it encouraged its workers “to speak up when issues arise,” adding, “Retaliation is strictly prohibited at Boeing.”

The F.A.A. interviewed Mr. Salehpour on Friday, Ms. Katz said. In a statement, Mike Whitaker, the agency’s administrator, did not specifically address Mr. Salehpour’s allegations, but he reiterated that the regulator was taking a hard line against the plane maker after the Alaska Airlines episode.

“This won’t be back to business as usual for Boeing,” Mr. Whitaker said. “They must commit to real and profound improvements. Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way.”

Mark Walker is an investigative reporter focused on transportation. He is based in Washington. More about Mark Walker

James Glanz is a Times international and investigative reporter covering major disasters, conflict and deadly failures of technology. More about James Glanz

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To: John Koligman who wrote (3646)4/10/2024 8:02:50 AM
From: Jeff Vayda
1 Recommendation   of 3675
Not that I know anything particular about this situation, but a statement like this gives me pause: " Mr. Salehpour said he was repeatedly retaliated against for raising concerns about shortcuts he believed the plane maker was taking in joining together the pieces of the Dreamliner’s fuselage."

Ive been around similar engineering instances when one guy thinks he knows best. IF he has raised this issue repeatedly, I trust other engineers would have eventually come around to his way of thinking - IF he had a point.

IMO going before Congress is WAY down on the list of appropriate ways to handle this situation and way up on the list of ways someone who thinks he know best reacts. Just saying....

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To: Jeff Vayda who wrote (3647)4/10/2024 12:54:36 PM
From: John Koligman
   of 3675
I hear you, but at this point BA's credibility is not very high. How they handled the 737 MAX flight control debacle and the continued assembly problems give one pause. They don't seem to be able to get a handle on it either, and for years now the C Suite has become a revolving door.

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To: Thomas M. who wrote (3645)4/11/2024 9:23:49 AM
From: roto
1 Recommendation   of 3675
Boeing won’t even consider moving HQ back to Seattle

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Chris Isidore, CNN
Thu, April 11, 2024 at 4:00 AM PDT

It’s been a brutal six years for Boeing, with two fatal jet crashes kicking off a series of safety crises — and raising concerns about the quality and safety of the planes rolling off its assembly lines.

As Boeing scrambles to repair its reputation, some critics and shareholders are asking: Why not move headquarters away from the shadow of Washington, D.C., and back home to its roots in Seattle?

But Boeing has now made clear: We are not interested.

An individual Boeing stockholder, Walter Ryan, wanted to put the question of a move up for a vote during the company’s May 17 annual shareholder meeting. He filed his proposal in October for the shareholder vote, which would have been non-binding — but in February, Boeing went to the Securities and Exchange Commission, ultimately winning approval to block the vote.

Ryan, who owns 10,000 shares of Boeing stock, lives in Las Vegas and has never been to Seattle. But he believes that if Boeing is to fix its current quality and safety problems, the company’s top management should be back in Seattle — near where most of its commercial aircraft are still manufactured.

“I think they need some hands-on overseeing, and by som ebody who has skin in the game,” Ryan told CNN.

Boeing’s corporate offices had been in Seattle from its founding in 1916 until it relocated to Chicago in 2001. Then in 2022, Boeing corporate moved again — this time to Arlington, Virginia, near the Pentagon and across the river from Capitol Hill. Most manufacturing, however, remains more than 2,300 miles away in Seattle.

“They want to be next to government,” Ryan said. “Is that a sound idea? I don’t think so.”

It isn’t only shareholders like Ryan who believe a return to Seattle would benefit Boeing.

“Part of it would be symbolic,” said Shem Malmquist, a Boeing 777 pilot and instructor of aviation safety at Florida Tech. “But it’s also going to be better culturally. In the end, the closer the top management is to the production and what’s going on and the engineers, the better.”

Boeing’s response

In his proposal he wanted presented to shareholders, Ryan said the corporate move from Seattle and separation from the core manufacturing business resulted in major issues related to “engineering and quality problems, and Boeing’s historic credibility,” — concerns he said are now foremost “in the minds of both travelers and shareholders.”

Ryan wrote the proposal even before a headline-grabbing incident in January, when the door panel of a Boeing 737 Max blew off in the middle of an Alaska Airlines flight, later found to be because the aircraft left the factory missing crucial bolts needed to keep it in place.

Boeing’s attorneys argued to the SEC that this isn’t an appropriate issue for shareholder vote: “The proposal seeks to ‘micro-manage’ the company by probing too deeply into matters of a complex nature upon which shareholders, as a group, would not be in a position to make an informed judgment.”

Further, Boeing’s attorneys dismissed the premise of Ryan’s argument, calling it “an unsupported theory that certain manufacturing issues experienced by Boeing would have been avoided simply because the company’s headquarters were located in a particular city, emphasizing, among other things, management’s ability to walk the factory floor.”

The SEC agreed that Boeing it did not need to put Ryan’s proposal on its proxy statement, which was released Friday. Boeing told CNN it did not have any comment beyond those included in its filing to the agency.

Ryan said he believes his proposal — which would have allowed shareholders only to “recommend” a move back to Seattle, not mandate it — would have won had it been put up for a vote.

“That’s why I sent it in. I thought it would pass, and thought it would be a good idea,” he told CNN.

Speaking broadly, however, even shareholder proposals that are put to a vote are not likely to pass — especially recently.

According to Institutional Shareholder Services, which tracks shareholder votes, only 5.4% of votes held in 2023 on shareholder proposals received majority support. That’s down sharply from 12.6% in 2022, and 19.5% in 2021.

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From: Eric4/11/2024 2:29:54 PM
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Have Boeing planes really had more problems lately? Look at the numbers

April 10, 2024 at 9:45 am Updated April 10, 2024 at 9:45 am

Alaska’s first MAX 9 flight since the blowout takes off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to San Diego International Airport, January 26, 2024. (Karen Ducey / The Seattle Times)

Paige Cornwell
Seattle Times staff reporter

Soon after a door piece blew out of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9, travel website Kayak saw a spike in people using its aircraft filter — a way for travelers to include or exclude different models of planes when choosing their flights.

As news came out about the January incident, the number of users clicking to exclude Boeing 737s in their search results jumped fifteenfold from the month before, according to Kayak. Other incidents, like an older 737 with “stuck” rudder pedals in New Jersey in February or another 737 that rolled onto the grass after landing in Houston in March, for example, have added to Boeing’s woes — and likely kept Kayak’s filter usage higher than normal.

Experts say Boeing-averse passengers’ fears are understandable but largely unfounded. And data from the National Transportation Safety Board suggests the number of Boeing accidents and incidents involving passenger flights this year is in line with previous years going back at least a decade.

Aviation officials are quick to point out the overwhelming safety of flying. The FAA handles an average of 45,000 flights per day in the U.S. and nearly all take off and land without issue. Worldwide, the total accident rate in 2023 was one accident for every 1.26 million flights, the lowest rate in more than a decade, according to the trade group International Air Transportation Association. Last year, there were no fatal accidents involving passenger jet aircraft.....

The rest of the story:

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From: roto4/14/2024 1:17:45 AM
   of 3675
Boeing- China

Expansion project of Boeing's first joint venture in China begins operation
Source: Xinhua
Editor: huaxia
2024-04-13 21:22:30

An aerial drone photo taken on Nov. 30, 2023 shows a view of the Boeing Tianjin Composites Co., Ltd. in north China's Tianjin Municipality. The Phase III expansion project of the Boeing Tianjin Composites Co., Ltd., plane maker Boeing's first joint venture in China, was officially put into operation on Friday.

TIANJIN, April 13 (Xinhua) -- The Phase III expansion project of the Boeing Tianjin Composites Co., Ltd., plane maker Boeing's first joint venture in China, was officially put into operation on Friday.

The project is expected to double the production capacity of the Tianjin plant, according to Boeing. The expansion was launched in the original factory area in 2019.

With a total floor area of about 58,000 square meters, the new facility can also provide more space for the assembling work involving more high-end and complex parts.

"Boeing is very proud of the partnership that we have built with China over more than half a century," said Brendan Nelson, senior vice president of the Boeing Company and president of Boeing Global.

"We are committed to China for the next 50 years," said Nelson, adding that Boeing will continue cooperation in China in a wide range of fields, including composites manufacturing, research, training, completion and delivery center, and sustainability.

Established in 1999, Boeing Tianjin Composites Co., Ltd. is the largest production base of composite materials in the Boeing supply chain in China. Its products cover all Boeing aircraft models.

Since China received the first batch of Boeing 707 aircraft in 1973, Boeing has delivered more than 2,000 aircraft to Chinese customers. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 Boeing aircraft use parts and components are made in China. ¦

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From: Thomas M.4/24/2024 10:20:22 PM
1 Recommendation   of 3675
Finance-driven culture and DEI are killing Boeing.

Boeing is the flagship of U.S. airpower and aerospace. But in recent years, its planes have fallen out of the sky. Why?

Boeing is decaying due to succession failure in engineering and on the factory floor.

There are only two companies in the world capable of building and exporting the largest type of civilian aircraft, the "jumbo jet": Boeing and Europe's Airbus. Since 1992, Boeing has gone from enjoying 70% market share to falling behind Airbus in orders and manufacturing.

Manufacturing aircraft is very expensive and technically challenging.

Succession failure in the engineering offices caused the two fatal crashes, as Boeing ended up designing and then delivering planes that, essentially, were programmed to crash themselves during a particular set of circumstances. Which they then did, twice.

To date, nobody has been held responsible for the series of fatal errors. But that is because no error on its own was fatal, just the combination of them, which no engineer at Boeing recognized in time or had the authority to act on, if they did recognize it.

Boeing is not the same company it once was.

Its non-technical managers and executives favored new factories in South Carolina rather than its core Seattle factories, where experienced workers were unionized and more expensive.

It is headquartered in DC now, not Seattle.

The political ascendance of consultants and “MBAs” over engineers, both at Boeing and in the U.S. generally, means that engineers are unable to overrule the decisions of consultants or MBAs and are themselves rewarded for making decisions like an MBA rather than engineer.

What whistleblowers and regulatory audits describe at Boeing is a decline in industrial discipline, with basic norms and standards of competence, decorum, and work ethic falling.

This decline in discipline occurs when workers, technicians, and managers do not transfer their knowledge and skills. It is happening both because of circumventing old factories and workforces with brand new ones, but also because Boeing's workforce is aging. It has been a long time since manufacturing was seen as an attractive career path to American youth. In 2018, over a third of employees represented by Boeing's machinists' union were over the age of 55 years old.

Now, Boeing is rapidly diversifying its workforce. Minority hires are now 47.5% of new hires, up sharply from 37.2% in 2020. Only 29.9% of Boeing interns were white males in 2022. According to Boeing, they have fired 65 employees since 2020 for "behavior deemed to be racist or hateful." These are most likely older white male workers.

This rapid politically motivated change in Boeing's workforce implies that still more succession failure is happening right now.

Outsourcing, subcontracting, diversity policies, MBA-led decision-making, a focus on financial profits in low-margin heavy industry—these are all ultimately just different ways to accidentally cause succession failure, which in airplane manufacturing causes deaths!


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From: John Koligman4/29/2024 7:08:12 PM
   of 3675
Sad to see a company like BA having it's debt assigned a 'near junk' rating.

Boeing taps debt market to raise $10 billion: Reuters

The Boeing logo is displayed on a Boeing building on January 8, 2024 in El Segundo, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images

Boeing on Monday tapped debt markets to raise $10 billion, after the U.S. planemaker burned $3.93 billion in free cash during the first quarter following slowing production of its best-selling jet, sources familiar with the matter said.

Boeing’s credit rating hovered above “junk” status last week from rating agencies as the planemaker tries to recover from a crisis that began in January after a midair blowout of a cabin panel door plug on a nearly new 737 MAX 9.

Investors and analysts have said Boeing could tap bond markets to get ahead of more than $12 billion in combined debt coming due in 2025 and 2026.

Credit rating agencies on Monday both assigned ratings nearing junk to Boeing’s new senior unsecured notes, with S&P assigning a BBB- rating and Moody’s assigning a Baa3 rating.

Moody’s said the rating reflects Boeing’s still-strong business profile, which continues to mitigate ongoing weak performance in commercial aircraft, although headwinds surrounding the division could persist through 2026.

Boeing will use the bond proceeds to increase its liquidity ahead of maturities on its existing debt load, including $4.3 billion in 2025, S&P wrote on Monday.

“It looks like it will go well,” said one of the sources, who was looking at buying the bonds, adding that he was told it was eight times oversubscribed.

The deal’s bookrunners leading the bond sale include Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, according to the deal’s term sheet.

Boeing declined to comment, but pointed to remarks from Chief Financial Officer Brian West during the company’s earnings last week in which he said Boeing was committed to managing its balance sheet in a prudent manner, with the goal of prioritizing its investment-grade rating and helping the factory and supply chain to stabilize.

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From: Thomas M.4/30/2024 7:48:09 PM
   of 3675
Missing emergency slide that fell off Delta flight found — washed up in front of house of lawyer whose firm is suing Boeing

The emergency slide that fell off a Delta flight departing from JFK Airport on Friday was found two days later — washed up in front of the beachside house of a lawyer whose firm happens to be suing Boeing over safety issues.

Jake Bissell-Linsk — a New York attorney whose firm filed a lawsuit against Boeing following the Alaska Airlines door blowout in January — told The Post he got a surprise on Sunday around noon when he looked out the window of his oceanfront home in Belle Harbor, Queens.

There — trapped on the rocks within feet of his front yard in a freak coincidence — was the emergency slide that fell off the Boeing 767 jetliner.

“We are right on the beach and I saw it was sitting on the breakers,” Bissell-Linsk told The Post.

While officials had been searching for the missing slide in Jamaica Bay since Friday afternoon, it turns out the slide was more far-flung than they expected — as Bissell-Linsk’s home faces the Atlantic Ocean.

Belle Harbor is located six miles southeast of JFK International Airport.

[continued ...]


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