Sanford N. McDonnell will retire as chairman and chief executive of McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, on March 2 and will be succeeded at the aerospace giant by John McDonnell, his cousin and the company's president and chief operating officer.
Sanford McDonnell, 65, is a nephew of McDonnell Douglas founder James S. McDonnell and became chairman in 1980 upon the death of his uncle.
John McDonnell, 49, is a son of James S. McDonnell and has been president of the company since 1980. He became chief operating officer last July and will retain the title of president.
"Frankly, I feel vigorous enough to continue working full time for several more years," McDonnell said in a statement, "but I've long believed that no one should remain in the top position at a major corporation much beyond the age of 65, and retiring now is a way of practicing what I preach.