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Boeing President Named to Succeed Chief Executive

Aerospace: Philip Condit led development of much-praised 777. Shrontz will remain chairman.


Boeing Co. President Philip M. Condit, who guided the company's successful development of the 777 wide-body jetliner, was selected Monday to become Boeing's chief executive at the end of April.

Condit, 54, will succeed Frank Shrontz, who will remain chairman of the Seattle-based company. Shrontz, 64, has been chief executive of the world's largest airplane builder since 1986.

The selection of the affable Condit was no surprise. He has been considered Shrontz's heir apparent for some time, and his stock rose further after the 777 went into service last year to rave reviews. It was the airplane of choice in several multibillion-dollar orders from airlines.

Condit, a 30-year Boeing veteran and engineer by training who has been president since 1992, often works with shirt sleeves rolled up and is known for being able to explain complex aerospace matters in plain language. He has also drawn high marks for striving to overhaul Boeing's stodgy culture with a less formal, more teamwork-oriented approach aimed at making the firm more efficient.

Indeed, analysts said Condit must continue that effort to lower Boeing's costs, because the aircraft industry remains fiercely competitive, with rivals routinely undercutting each other on price.

"He faces three issues: cost, cost, cost," said Byron K. Callan, aerospace analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York. "Boeing certainly can't sit still with what it's accomplished so far."

Condit agreed, saying in a phone interview, "We're going to work very hard at fundamental change to our [manufacturing] processes, and changes to the culture and how people work together."

Condit has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and master's degrees from Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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