Boeing chief abruptly resigns

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

CHICAGO -- Boeing Co. chairman and CEO Phil Condit resigned unexpectedly Monday amid deepening turmoil over questionable tactics used by the aerospace giant in aggressively trying to win defense contracts.

The resignation came a week after two executives were fired for unethical conduct.

Condit, 62, said he quit to try to prevent the company from getting "bogged down" after a year of tumult involving its defense business.

Among other things, the Pentagon is investigating allegations that a former Air Force official gave Boeing information about another company's competing bid on a contract to supply the military with air-refueling tankers.

The Air Force official, Darleen Druyun, was later hired by Boeing as a vice president and Boeing eventually won the estimated $17 billion contract. Last week, Druyun was fired along with chief financial officer Mike Sears, who had talked to her about a job with Boeing while she was still at the Pentagon.

Condit has not been connected to the ethical issues that resulted in the recent firings.

The company brought back Harry Stonecipher, its 67-year-old former president and chief operating officer, from retirement to become chief executive in what analysts saw as caretaker leadership.

Pentagon officials said the resignation was a private company matter and declined to comment on the investigation.

Boeing employs about 160,000 people.

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