Boeing shuffled its corps of executives in its commercial airplane division today with new leadership named for the nascent 777X and 737 Max aircraft programs.
Ray Conner, commercial airplanes division president, named Bob Feldmann as vice-president and general manager of the 777X program. Feldman, who has led the efforts to develop the newest version of Boeing’s popular 737, the 737 Max, will be tasked with defining the 777X and developing its business case for scrutiny by upper management and Boeing’s board.
The 777X is the next version of Boeing’s successful 777 twin jet. The new version is still being planned. Boeing must decide how many new features to put in the 777X so that it will be attractive to airlines, but won’t be too costly to acquire or build.
Boeing has talked about a wide variety of changes for the 777X including new, longer wings, new engines and a stretched fuselage. The company is expected to consider offering the derivative aircraft to potential customers sometime this year.
Replacing Feldmann as the head of the 737 Max development team is Keith Leverkuhn. Leverkuhn has headed Boeing’s propulsion systems division.
Feldman will guide Boeing through the next steps in moving the 737 Max to production. The 737 Max is the latest version of the world’s best-selling jetliner. The Max will feature new engines and upgraded aerodynamics to make it more fuel-efficient.
The first 737 Max is expected to be delivered to launch customer Southwest Airlines from Boeing’s Renton plant in 2017. Airlines have already ordered more than 1,000 737 Max aircraft.
Nicole Piasecki will replace Leverkuhn as vice president and general manager of propulsion systems. Piasecki has served as vice president of development and business integration.