Boeing handed new titles to two of its top executives, giving an indication of where it is headed when current Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney retires.
Defense chief Dennis A. Muilenburg was promoted to president and chief operating officer, and named as vice chairman of the company. Raymond L. Conner was also named vice chairman, and will continue to run Boeing's commercial airplanes division.
Boeing spokesman John Dern said the moves are part of Boeing's process for planning for the eventual retirement of McNerney, 64.
Boeing's retirement age for executives is 65, although the board can ask them to stay longer and it has in the past, Dern said. He declined to say whether McNerney is seeking to stay past 65. "There aren't any current plans for his retirement," Dern said.
Boeing's airplane and defense units used to be roughly equal by revenue, but booming sales of commercial planes have pushed that division ahead. Conner, 58, has been leading Boeing's commercial airplane division since June 2012. He has run Boeing's 777 and 747 programs, and was leading sales for commercial airplanes when he got the job running that division.