Boeing’s corporate HQ move may be a misstep

LBS’s Professor Randall Peterson believes the aerospace giant’s move to Arlington, Virginia may be a mistake

Boeing 1140 by 346

News that Boeing is to move its corporate headquarters is discussed in the Financial Times letter, Why Boeing is looking homeless and clueless.

Peterson argues that Boeing is abandoning Chicago for a new headquarters near Washington, DC at a time when there are a litany of problems facing the company’s civil aviation division: “A return to the aerospace group’s spiritual home in Seattle might have sent a powerful message to customers and employees alike — a declaration that Boeing means to address its many challenges while it attempts to emerge from the 737 Max crisis and other setbacks on civil and military programmes that have dented customer and investor confidence.”

Professor Peterson, whose new book, Disaster in the Boardroom: Six Dysfunctions Everyone Should Understand explores corporate scandals and the failure of boards to act clearly, decisively and with leadership, makes the point that “a board is a team, not a bystander, nor a corporate body frozen by groupthink”. Referring specifically to Boeing, Peterson writes, “A company that ought to celebrate the engineering culture which made it a great name in aerospace is now focusing its attentions on government relations rather addressing its myriad delivery problems and building back confidence with its customers. It would seem that Boeing’s board has subordinated common sense and chosen to be frozen by the glare of big government, which is likely to yield nothing more than scorn and reproach.”