Boeing: Move to DC is all About Our Values

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(Image: Boeing Dreamscape)

A spokesperson for Boeing today explained why the company decided to move its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia instead of returning to Seattle.

“Boeing left Seattle to escape its suffocating engineering culture and its maniacal focus on safety. While the company was profitable in Seattle, the top executives were working for chump change.

“Boeing was making a great, safe product while the CEO financial fiddlers were making fortunes. We moved to Chicago to get closer to the fiddlers, learn how to buy back our own stock, cook the books, goose earnings-per-share and levitate the stock price.

From 2016 to 2018 Boeing bought back $25 billion of its own stock, jacking up our stock price by 123 percent. For this CEO  Dennis Muhlenberg was paid a total of $72 million. Moving to Chicago enabled Boeing to reward performance.

“Then two Boeing 737 Max airplanes crashed. There are over 10,000 Boeing airplanes in commercial service. Did anyone even note that 99.98 percent were functioning safely? No. The press, the regulators, and the pols went wacko — headlines, congressional hearing, investigations., lawsuits. Boeing stock dropped by 40 percent.

“That is when Boeing decided financial fiddling was a distraction from its core business. Today the big bucks are in Washington, D.C. That why we are moving to Arlington to concentrate on lobbying, coopting regulators, buying politicians, sucking up to Generals, flattering bigwigs, cozying up to reporters, and misinforming the public.”

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Steve Clifford, the former CEO of KING Broadcasting, has written humor for Crosscut.com and the Huffington Post. He is the author of "The CEO Pay Machine."

6 COMMENTS

  1. Sadly, all true.

    Only slightly closer to reality, a big part of this move is the company’s recognition that its defense business kept it afloat over the past three years, and with the future of commercial air travel still up in the air defense contracts will be the mainstay of their business for the next several years.

  2. For those dear readers irritated by this style of satire please see the Netflix doc,
    The Case Against Boeing” to see how badly the foolish Phil Condit got coopted by Harry Stonesifer and the Wall Street corporate greed culture. It’s corporate America at its worse.

  3. Move over, Andy Borowitz! Steve Clifford’s May 7 piece on Boeing is not quite as funny as Borowitz at his best; it doesn’t cover up the underlying disgust with quite as much light wit. But it’s great. More from Clifford, please!

  4. Look, as I’ve said before, the reality is that as the world’s second largest military contractor, BA has a subsidiary (division?) in Washington and South Carolina making commercial aircraft. That’s just it, to put it simply. It actually does make sense for a military contractor to have an HQ inside the Beltway. My speculation is that Boeing spins off the commercial side as an independent stand-alone, along with its commensurate debt. Following that, it could file Ch. 11, emerge with a clean balance sheet, and get back to making first-rate commercial jets. But what do I know…?

  5. Great satirical spin, but also close enough to reality — see Peter Robison’s “Flying Blind.”
    It’s more than a title; it describes the condition of pilots not knowing, because Boeing hadn’t told them, not understanding why – no matter what they frantically did – the 737 MAX was constantly pushing its nose down, down, then plunging headfirst, at hundreds of miles an hour, into an ocean and an African forest. The “suffocating engineering culture” knew better, but the “financial fiddlers” didn’t care.

  6. Love to know what they’re thinking in Chicago. Giving away a huge tax subsidy ($20 million) didn’t keep Boeing loyal to the Windy City. Years ago, the Chicago chamber’s Paul O’Connor, a sometime Seattle P-I restaurant columnist, bragged about his success bribing the Boeing brass to relocate. What now O’Connor, if you’re still around?

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