More turmoil at Boeing; 747 chief ousted

Flightblogger’s Jon Ostrower has this story that the head of the 747-8 program has been replaced as delays mount, flight testing stalls and new delivery delays are expected to be announced within weeks.

Vice president and general manager Mo Yahyavi has been replaced by Pat Shanahan, the head of all commercial programs, and Elizabeth Lund, who has been the head of the 767 program.

Lund’s appoint is indicative of how badly are going for the 747 program despite the unadulterated cheerleading professed by some. Lund was responsible for the transition of the 767 production line from its historic system operating since the 1982 introduction of the airplane to a new, Lean Production Line that is to open in January. The new Lean line will take half the space of the old line and this makes way for the 787 Surge Line.

Lund was also preparing the 767 line in anticipation of Boeing winning the KC-X tanker award.

The 747-8 program has been best by fall-out from the 787 program since 2007, before the 787′s roll-out, as engineering and other resources were diverted to or retained by the 787. Boeing outsourced engineering to Russia, Spain and India, and found it necessary for SPEEA to rework important pieces of it when the data came back.

The plane has been plagued with aerodynamic difficulties and flight testing has fallen behind schedule.

Boeing has telegraphed a likely new delay in first delivery to at least the first quarter, but hasn’t made it official. An announcement is expected within weeks, according to our information, that may set first delivery in the second quarter.

6 comments on “More turmoil at Boeing; 747 chief ousted

  1. Ahem.

    I believe it was on this very blog, in the comments section, where I called this.

    I said it made no sense at all to place Mo Yahyavi in charge of 747-8, even given his performance on the P-8. I said that success on a derivative of Boeing’s smallest jet in no way inferred qualification to head the program for Boeing’s biggest. I said it was a mistake, and showed just how strapped Boeing was for talented management.

    I would like to add that I think Pat Shannahan a largly overrated golden boy, one who has never been held to account.

    And that very possible in the current environment, being made a program chief of ANY program in Everett is a sure career ending move.

    I also believe that the reasons given for the latest 787 delay smell very, very ripe, and that the instincts of the aviation analyst community have finally come around.

    • With all the oldtimer taken out of “storage” what do you think:

      Is this a “selection” or “availability” problem for choosing leadership?

      Is there birth generation wise a distinct watershed?

  2. If I remember correctly, the 747-8F was originally scheduled to be delivered in 3Q 2009. A 2Q 2011 first delivery means that the delay on the 747-8F EIS would exceed that of the A380-800 which was around 18 months for MSN-003 (first aircraft for Singapore Airlines). Of course, that does not take into account that subsequent A380 deliveries had longer delays. However, it still puts into perspective the troubled A380 production snafu and the massive critique directed at Airbus for it.

  3. I think there is something more to removinr Mr. Mo Yahyavi. He was not incharge of the B-747-8F/I design and engineering program was outsoursed to Russia, Italy, and other places. The flutter problems during cruise, landing gear vibration problems, airliron problems, etc. should never have surfaced on a derivitive design from the B-747-400/-500/-600/-700 programs. I think these ‘management problems’ go back to the MDD crowd that is still at Boeing. Mr. Yahyavi is a long time Boeing employee (something like 25+ years) while Pat Shanahan and Elizabeth Lund came from MDD. It seems the MDD take over of Boeing is still going on……

    • Whats Mr. Yahyavi reputation?

      Do we have an idea on his recent performance on the 747-8 programme?
      ( both : relative to managements expectations and relative to what
      was actually expectable with the resources available )

      Any chance he will be lifted over to the 787 playground?

  4. Sorry KC135, you are sadly misinformed – Shanahan and Lund are not former MDD employees. When will people let that go, anyway?

    Shanahan’s exec bio:
    http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/aboutus/execprofiles/shanahan.html

    And Lund cut her teeth on the payloads side of Boeing Commercial, going way back before the merger. Not that she’s all that old anyway. She was a big part of the 737 moving line installation, led the 777 moving line, and was leading the work on the 767 right up to now.

    It’s just sad that the 747 got clobbered as a by-product of the 787 woes.

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