Boeing’s CEO Takes Private Jet to Work, Sparking Office Mockery

Boeing, one of the world’s leading aerospace and defense manufacturers, has found itself in the spotlight once again. This time, the focus is on the company’s CEO, David Calhoun, and his unconventional commute to the office via private jet. Reports indicate that Calhoun’s choice of transportation has become a source of mockery among some employees, shedding light on the ongoing debate surrounding remote work policies and executive leadership presence in the post-pandemic era.

Photo: Fox Business

The CEO’s Private-Jet Commute

Boeing’s CEO, David Calhoun, has been making headlines for his unique commuting style. While many employees have returned to the office, Calhoun opts for private jet travel to reach his workplace, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. This choice stands in stark contrast to the fact that only 30% of the company’s job postings allow for remote work, leaving the majority of employees with no choice but to be physically present at the office.

Boeing’s headquarters moved from Chicago to Virginia in May, and since then, management has been actively promoting a return-to-office culture. Efforts have included happy hours, guest speakers, and even visits from alpacas to boost employee morale. However, the CEO and CFO, Brian West, have rarely been seen at these events, leading to employee frustration, as reported by the Journal.

David Calhoun took the reins as Boeing CEO just before the pandemic hit, and like many office workers worldwide, he began working from home. However, over the past three years, Boeing’s fleet of private jets has made approximately 400 trips to or from airports near his two residences—one on the waterfront of New Hampshire’s Lake Sunapee and the other in a gated community in South Carolina.

Brian West, the company’s CFO, has also chosen not to relocate to the corporate headquarters. Instead, Boeing has opened a small office just five minutes away from West’s home in Connecticut.

Employee Mockery and Public Attention

The decision of the CEO and CFO to maintain residences away from the company’s headquarters has not gone unnoticed. The situation came to wider public attention when CNBC‘s Jim Cramer questioned Calhoun’s whereabouts during a segment in 2021, amid production issues with the 787 Dreamliner. Cramer’s comments led to employees poking fun at the CEO by displaying “Lake Sunapee” signs in their offices and even using souvenir mugs with slogans like “Love Lake Life.”

Boeing’s Response

In response to the reports and employee sentiments, a Boeing spokesperson stated that the company has been working on transforming its leadership culture to encourage senior management to engage more frequently with employees, customers, and other stakeholders. This shift began three years ago when senior leaders were relocated out of the Chicago office and closer to their teams.

The spokesperson emphasized that Boeing has been striving to introduce flexibility across various levels to allow employees to work in ways that are most productive and supportive of the global business. Boeing also noted that this approach has enabled the company to attract top talent across various disciplines as it continues to execute its recovery plans.

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