Boeing CFO Greg Smith will oversee a newly formed group to help the company get its production and supply chain operations back into competitive mode after years of turmoil, the company announced.
Smith will oversee the group, called Enterprise Operations, Finance & Strategy, as well as oversee manufacturing, supply chain and operations, finance, enterprise performance, strategy, enterprise services and administration. As group head, Smith will be tasked with restoring "production and supply chain health as Boeing and the broader aerospace industry recover from the pandemic."
The group will begin operations on May 1, working to drive "greater cross-company integration and continuous improvement; aligning enterprise services to current business conditions while increasing value; streamlining senior leadership roles and responsibilities; and preparing now for the post-pandemic industry footprint."
Boeing also announced it's combining its legal and core compliance programs into one group, to be led by chief legal officer Brett Gerry. Additionally, a chief compliance officer will soon join the company.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun expressed confidence "these changes will drive greater alignment among our functions; better equip our commercial, defense and space, and services businesses to deliver on customer commitments in a changing marketplace."
Calhoun stepped in as CEO following Dennis Muilenberg’s December dismissal. Smith served as interim CEO until Calhoun assumed the role in January.
The newly-formed group will begin operations just as Boeing restarts commercial airplane operations in Washington State later this week. In a March release, Boeing called on the government to "ensure a minimum of $60 billion in access to public and private liquidity, including loan guarantees, for the aerospace manufacturing industry."
Amid a 13-month-old freeze on 737 MAX deliveries, combined with the pandemic disruption, Boeing said last week it had delivered 50 planes in Q1, "barely a third of the 149 a year earlier and the lowest since 1984 for the first quarter," CNBC reported.
As a result of "plunging demand, cash problems at airlines and logistical difficulties in delivering aircraft" that have accompanied the pandemic, Boeing has been forced to cut production for the past several months.
Last month, Smith said the U.S. aerospace industry urgently needs credit to cope with the pandemic, but "markets essentially are closed" to new debt. "I mean, there’s really not much opportunity to raise any additional debt. That’s one of the challenges," he said.
Smith's promotion to lead the new group mirrors a common trend among companies struggling with the pandemic: relying on the CFO to provide insight, stability and scenario planning as the company charts a cautious path forward.