Harry Stonecipher(File photo)BEIJING, Mar. 8(Xinhuanet)-- Boeing Co. on Monday sacked Chief Executive Harry Stonecipher who had an affair with a female executive.
Stonecipher, who was president and CEO of McDonnell Douglas Corp. until its merger with Boeing in 1997, will also leave the company's board.
Chief Financial Officer James Bell, 56, will take over on an interim basis, becoming Boeing's first African-American CEO. But he is not a candidate to hold the post permanently.
Boeing said Stonecipher's affair with the woman broke company rules and impaired his leadership abilities.
Stonecipher came out of retirement to take the reins in December 2003 after the company's hiring of a former Air Force procurement official put its ethics under scrutiny.
Stonecipher's efforts to settle Boeing's legal troubles began to bear fruit last Friday when the U.S. Air Force reinstated the company's eligibility to vie for billions of dollars in government satellite launching work.
His resignation is unlikely to affect that decision, Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Karen Finn said.
Boeing said Stonecipher's departure was unrelated to the company's performance or financial condition.
But analysts said the news was negative as Stonecipher's aggressive marketing approach helped revive commercial jet orders at Boeing.
3M Co. Chairman W. James McNerney, a Boeing board member, and Alan Mulally, who heads Boeing's commercial plane unit, are leading candidates for the job, analysts said.
Stonecipher, 68, married, has two children and two grandchildren. He is the second Boeing CEO to leave in 15 months.