The Rise and Fall of Mike Sears

Topics: Boeing, Aerospace, Philip M. Condit Pages: 3 (972 words) Published: January 27, 2011
CASE: 4 THE RISE AND FALL OF MIKE SEARS

Like Sears was a prodigy of Harry Stonecipher, the blunt-talking, hard-driving aerospace executive who became CEO first of Sears earned a reputation as a skilled manager who restlessly cut costs and boosted productivity, building a program that was below costs and ahead of schedule. Stonecipher admired Sear’s effectiveness at assembling and managing cross-functional product development teams, establishing closer ties with suppliers and improving controls within his organization. When McDonnell Douglas was acquired by Boeing in 1996, Sears went with Stonecipher to the acquiring company, where Stonecipher became president until his retirement in 2002. Sears was appointed as chief financial officer. It was soon clear, however, that Sears was after the top spot. As CFO he was one of the obvious candidates in line to succeed Boeing CEO Phil Condit. Other contenders included Alan Mulally, head of Boeing’s commercial aerospace group, and James Albaugh, who ran Boeing’s defense systems fqcc . According to company insiders, Sears began to take steps to amass a power base at his rivals’ expense. In 2002 Sears heard that Darleen Druyun, the top Air Force procurement officer, was looking to move into the private sector. Druyun was quite possibly the most sought-after executive-to-be in the entire aerospace industry. Because of her knowledge of the Pentagon procurement process and her contacts, Boeing and other aerospace companies tried hard to land her. James Albaugh had talked to her at least once but came up dry. Sears, however, somehow managed to persuade her to join the company. The coup gave Sears a huge advantage over Albaugh and Mulally. It also had the potential to expand his power base by making Druyun an ally. Unknown to others at the time, Sears had clinched the deal by promising Druyun a top job at Boeing while she was still in the middle of negotiating a $22 billion military contract with Boeing for a...
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