Boeing has announced Brian West will replace 30-year company veteran Greg Smith as the planemaker’s new chief financial officer (CFO).
Effective 27 August, West will report to Boeing president and CEO David Calhoun and serve on the company’s Executive Council.
West has previously worked as a CFO for numerous companies such as General Electrics (GE), Nielson, and as operations vice-president of Oscar Health Insurance. Most recently, he served as CFO for data provider Refinitiv since 2018.
“Brian is the ideal executive to serve as Boeing’s next CFO, given his significant financial management and long-term strategic planning experience in complex global organisations across the aerospace, manufacturing and services industries,” said Calhoun in a statement.
West and Calhoun worked together previously, and the president believes this choice will benefit Boeing in terms of “transparency with stakeholders” and continuing to focus on “safety and quality”.
In April this year, Greg Smith, the former CFO, announced his retirement. It was rumoured he was ready to leave after guiding the company through the 737 MAX crisis and groundings, and especially the pandemic.
Calhoun noted his financial stewardship was crucial to assisting Boeing during the worst of the pandemic.
Hunter Keay, managing director at Wolfe Research, told The Wall Street Journal that Mr Smith had a “solid connection with the investment community”, so much so that Boeing’s shares fell 4.1 per cent following the initial announcement.
Analysts expected Mr Smith would eventually succeed Mr Calhoun as CEO, and according to Michel Merluzeau, an aerospace analysist with consultancy AIR, Mr Smith’s retirement clearly indicated that the board did not intend for his succession.
Mr Merluzeau noted that Mr Smith was a conservative CFO; therefore, the retirement indicates the executive board will approach business differently now, and “more reshuffling could be coming”.
“I want to thank Greg again for his outstanding contributions to our employees, customers, communities and our company throughout his more than 30 years of service with Boeing,” Mr Calhoun said, commemorating his service.
During the interim months, Dave Dohnalek, currently Boeing’s senior vice-president and treasurer, was called to stand in as CFO, and will continue until August when Mr West joins.