Boeing CEO Muilenburg discusses Seattle-area job outlook, 797, Embraer merger, explains relationship with Trump
In an exclusive interview at Boeing's Chicago headquarters, Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg talked of heady growth plans, a company transformation around the next all-new jet, his push to acquire Embraer, his wooing of President Trump and the future of the Puget Sound region.
Originally published January 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm Updated January 22, 2018 at 9:01 pm
CHICAGO — In his corner office high amid Chicago's office towers, Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg has some words of reassurance for the Puget Sound region.
"It's still my Boeing home," he said of the place where he spent the first 15 years of his Boeing career.
Personally, as an ardent cyclist, he said that on trips to Boeing's jet factories he takes every chance he gets to ride around the Pacific Northwest's more challenging landscape in preference to Chicago's flatlands.
As for the company's outlook in the Puget Sound area, Muilenburg offered some short-term good news: The steep decline in Boeing jobs over the past five years is finally coming to an end, he says, and "you're seeing us reach that more stable plateau."
While insisting that Boeing has a solid commitment and investment here, he made clear that much remains up in the air regarding the most critical decision for its future — where and how Boeing will build its next all-new jet.
And yet he also spoke of the edge Washington state has in the competition to build at least one important piece of that next plane.
In an exclusive interview, Muilenburg ranged broadly, explaining why he's chasing an acquisition of Brazilian jet maker Embraer and why he'll continue to work closely with President Donald Trump.
Boeing is riding high — churning out record numbers of airplanes, leading the Dow Jones industrials with a share price that's more than doubled in the past year, and anticipating a tax windfall worth billions of dollars from Trump's corporate tax reduction.
Two-and-a-half years into his tenure as CEO, Muilenburg, 54, is on top of his world and ready to make aggressive business moves.
Going forward, he said, "The growth opportunity ahead of us is extraordinary."
The talks became public in December following Airbus' shock move to acquire control of the CSeries jet program from Bombardier of Canada.
Yet Muilenburg is adamant that Airbus' decision "wasn't a trigger for us … No. Not at all." (Sylvain Faust: If you beleive this... this guy is so funny )