Boeing is said to have moved its headquarters to Virginia

Boeing is said to have moved its headquarters to Virginia

Boeing is moving its headquarters from Chicago to the Washington, DC area, The Seattle Times confirmed this morning after a report in the Wall Street Journal.

An announcement is expected as soon as today.

Boeing’s move to Chicago in 2001 from its historic location in Seattle tore apart the company’s legacy in the Pacific Northwest.

With Boeing suffering from a seemingly endless parade of problems that have sunk the company̵[ads1]7;s fortunes over the past three years since the two 737 MAX crashes, some industry voices had asked Boeing to relocate to Seattle to help restore culture.

Instead, the shift to DC is intended to move top management close to key government officials and legislators in the country’s capital.

It’s the place for Boeing’s biggest customer on the defense side: the Pentagon.

And following the tightening of government safety oversight following the MAX crashes, the Commercial Aircraft Division must increasingly work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration in DC and with lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate.

A Boeing spokesman had no immediate comment.

The decision to leave Chicago after 21 years makes it clear that the move in 2001 has proved to be a big flop.

There was never any real reason to choose Chicago that made sense for the company’s business. Boeing’s then-CEO Phil Condit and its president, Harry Stonecipher, made it clear at the time that they wanted the headquarters to be relocated to a city separate from some of the main business units.

Chicago won because it appealed to their egos as a big trading city with a macho steakhouse culture for executives. The city’s offer of as much as $ 20 million in tax incentives sealed the decision.

The new headquarters was quickly seen as an ivory tower, separated from the realities and complexities of the work that produced the aircraft and the technology that determined the company’s fate.

The skyscraper location in downtown Chicago was also a business venture that separated top executives from their employees. Many in the Northwest Pacific and elsewhere were alienated by cold decisions about their lives taken from afar without much obvious concern for the consequences for individuals.

With the real work of building space products done elsewhere around the country, only a few hundred people have been located in Chicago – the top management and their administrative staff.

With the series of missteps from Boeing’s leadership over the past three years, this distance from reality began to look increasingly untenable.

The decision to relocate was undoubtedly facilitated by the restrictions of the COVID pandemic.

In addition to the massive impact on the company’s operations, the headquarters was largely empty for two years as top management worked from home and held virtual meetings.

This is a development story. Come back for updates.

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