An Anatomy of Boeing’s Problems. And Seattle’s.


I recommend this article by T.M. Sell that explores the long line of miscalculations, particularly the purchase of McDonnell Douglas, by the once-venerated Boeing Co. The problems highlighted in the Crosscut article include a poor board; too much power to the number-crunchers; too much outsourcing of parts, particularly with the 787; and pressure from Wall Street to shift to short-term profitability and rising stock prices.

Read it and weep. I recently talked with a pilot and close observer of Boeing. He said Boeing needed to find a new CEO and also to have the courage to stop selling to international airlines that do not have rigorous pilot training.

As for the impact on Seattle if Boeing is really crippled, I wonder how well local planners are taking that into account. The local weather forecast is pretty cloudy: Boeing cutting back; Amazon in political danger both nationally and in Seattle; a real estate bubble in Seattle; and the decline of China trade. That’s a lot of flashing yellow lights!

David Brewster
David Brewster
David Brewster, a founding member of Post Alley, has a long career in publishing, having founded Seattle Weekly, Sasquatch Books, and His civic ventures have been Town Hall Seattle and FolioSeattle.


  1. I don’t think Boeing purchased McDonell Douglas. In fact, it seems just the opposite. Harry Stonecipher, president and CEO of McDonell Douglas orchestrated the “merger”, assumed the title at Boeing, installed a new board, moved the headquarters to Chicago, and even appended the McDonnell Douglas logo to the austere Boeing logotype. He dumped Phil Condit, the last and the weakest in a string of canny and imaginative Boeing CEO’s, and started outsourcing parts for the 787. In retropect, it’s like watching a plane crash.



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