Aerospace giant Boeing, which had been making steady progress in rehabilitating its corporate image after a series of ethics scandals, suffered another shocking setback this morning.
CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing Co. on Monday said its board forced out president and chief executive officer Harry Stonecipher because of a relationship the married, 69-year-old Stonecipher had with a female executive at the company.
The unexpected ouster makes Stonecipher, who spent just 15 months in the top job, the second consecutive CEO to depart the Chicago-based airplane maker and defense contractor in disgraceBoeing’s Chairman Lew Platt said they received an anonymously tip 10 days ago about Stonecipher office affair . Their investigation determined the relationship was consensual and had no effect on the conduct of the company’s business. The investigation also determined that neither the career nor the compensation of the female executive was influenced by this relationship. Commenting on the dismissal, Platt said, “The CEO must set the standard for unimpeachable professional and personal behavior, and the Board determined that this was the right and necessary decision under the circumstances.”
Ironically the Air Force gave Boeing a clean bill of health for prior ethics violation last week by dropping a 20 month suspension from bidding on satellite launch contracts. Much of the credit for that decision was the result of the leadership of Stonecipher.
Update: Business Week has identified the female Vice President that Stonecipher was having an affair with as Debra Peabody. CalicoCat has a picture of Peabody culled from a University of Washington Business School marketing brochure.