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Originally published December 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Page modified December 4, 2012 at 12:03 PM

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Boeing shuffles execs to focus on dual airplane goals

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner reorganized the responsibilities of his top executives, elevating 787 head Scott Fancher to now lead all airplane-development programs.

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

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Ray Conner, the boss of Boeing Commercial Airplanes since June, announced Monday a reorganization that shifts the responsibilities of his top executives.

Scott Fancher, who was spearheading concept development of the 777X derivative of Boeing’s star widebody jet, will now head development of all five of the company’s new airplane programs.

Those new jets are the already launched 737 MAX, 767 tanker and 787-9, followed by the soon-to-be-launched 787-10X and, slightly further out, the 777X.

Fancher earned his wings in airplane development earlier when he dragged the 787 Dreamliner program past slow rework and delay to actual delivery of jets for airlines.

Pat Shanahan, who remains the leader of current airplane programs, now has his role extended beyond the Puget Sound region factories to Boeing’s manufacturing site in South Carolina.

He’s responsible for overseeing all the jet assembly lines and their complex supply chains, which must now smoothly execute unprecedented rate increases in production.

Those twin pillars of the reorganization underline that Conner sees two parallel and equally vital imperatives:

“Over the next 18 months, Commercial Airplanes will be increasing production rates across all programs by more than 25 percent — the highest levels in commercial aviation history. In parallel, we will be managing five development programs,” Conner wrote in a note to employees Monday.

“Successfully balancing our production and development priorities is critical to our future viability and success with customers.”

Putting the 787 manufacturing complex in North Charleston, S.C., under Shanahan’s control marks its shift from a newly developed facility to a site of more routine production.

Conner said the separate 787 Dreamliner program sites in Everett and North Charleston will form “one team focused on rate increases, quality and on-time deliveries.”

He also split the existing Manufacturing and Quality organization into two distinct units.

Reflecting the newly acknowledged need to keep a close eye on quality not only within Boeing but also at its suppliers, the head of the new Quality organization, Lindsay Anderson, will report to Stan Deal, who leads Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ global supply chain.

The announcement to employees said Fancher will maintain direct responsibility for the 777 and 777X programs “until new leaders are named in the near future.”

Dominic Gates: (206) 464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

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