Boeing's Bell To Retire April 1

 - November 1, 2011, 10:54 AM
Boeing CFO James Bell

 James Bell, Boeing executive vice president, corporate president and CFO, has announced plans to retire from the company, effective April 1, 2012.

Boeing’s board has elected Greg Smith, 45, corporate controller and finance vice president, to succeed Bell as executive vice president and CFO, effective Feb. 1, 2012. Boeing said the two will work together over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition.

Meanwhile, Diana Sands, 46, will replace Smith as corporate controller, also effective Feb. 1, 2012. She is presently the company’s v-p of investor relations and financial planning and analysis.

“James Bell’s service to Boeing has been extraordinary in many ways over many years,” said Boeing chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney.  “As CFO he created a world-class finance organization and a culture of continuous improvement. His disciplined approach to financial management ensured our fiscal strength throughout his tenure, and his personal commitment to developing leaders created a strong, diverse team across our finance organization. As corporate president, he instilled a focus on excellence and teamwork by driving tighter integration across our businesses and functions.”

Bell, 63, has served as CFO since 2003 and became corporate president in 2008. He served as the company’s interim CEO for several months in 2005, immediately preceding the start of McNerney’s tenure.

Bell joined the company in 1972, at what was then Rockwell International, as a staff accountant; Boeing acquired Rockwell’s aerospace business in 1996. Before his CFO role, he served as corporate controller. At the business operating group level, he served as vice president of contracts for Boeing’s defense and space businesses, and also in business management roles for the International Space Station program.

Bell said he plans to remain active in various civic, business and philanthropic roles. He serves on the board of directors of Dow Chemical Company, the Chicago Urban League, World Business Chicago and the Chicago Economic Club.