Platt back at the top – of Boeing

From HP and beyond

Former HP CEO Lew Platt has returned to the executive ranks, as part of a major shakeup at troubled Boeing Co.

Boeing saw Chairman and CEO Phil Condit step down on Monday. Former top dog Harry Stonecipher will come out of retirement to take on roles as CEO and President, and Platt will become non-executive Chairman. Platt has been on Boeing's board for years and retired from his post atop HP in 1997.

"Boeing is advancing on several of the most important programs in its history and I offered my resignation as a way to put the distractions and controversies of the past year behind us, and to place the focus on our performance," Condit said.

Condit's surprise move comes one week after he fired CFO Mike Sears for offering Pentagon official Darleen Druyun a job at the aerospace company while she was still working on Boeing-related deals. These "distractions" added to questions about controversial leasing programs Boeing offered up to the U.S. Air Force for refueling tankers and another bid for satellites in which Boeing used proprietary information to beat out rival Lockheed Martin.

"The board appreciates that Phil acted with characteristic dignity and selflessness in recognizing that his resignation was for the good of the company," said the new chairman, Lew Platt. "We accepted his decision with sadness, but also with the knowledge that changes needed to be made. The board is confident that the new leadership will bring a renewed focus on execution and performance.

"As the non-executive chairman, I will bring to bear the full strength and perspective of the board in guiding the company and assisting Harry in any way he requests. Harry will be responsible for executing our strategy and running every aspect of the company," Platt said.

Platt joined HP back in 1966 when the company was still sticking close to its roots. He worked his way up from the medical products group to EVP in 1987 and then Chairman in 1992. He then retired in 1997, handing over control of the company to current Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina. Platt also worked as CEO of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates from 2000 to 2001.

In his new role, Platt may be able to work some nice deals for the HP Air Force. ®

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