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James McNerney/Dennis Muilenburg

47 - James McNerney/Dennis Muilenburg
2012 Rank: 51/--

Chairman & CEO, Boeing; President & CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security
Unlike many of its competitors, Boeing is lucky to have a booming commercial aircraft business and landed a huge order from Arabian Gulf states to offset declining US defense spending. The company is also America’s largest single exporter in terms of total monetary value, which gives McNerney clout: He chairs the President’s Export Council. And he’s got production operations in 48 states, especially Washington, which is home to Sen. Patty Murray, the chair of the powerful Senate Budget Committee. Still, the General Electric and 3M veteran faces a tough task as some of the company’s premier programs, from the C-17 transport to the F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-15 fighters are slated to conclude — absent additional international orders. The daunting task of running and growing the company’s $33 billion defense business during a defense downturn is Muilenburg’s (pictured). Dynamic and driven, the 49-year-old executive joined Boeing in 1985 and steadily moved up the ranks. He insists on protecting internal research and development funding to win new business, unlike some of his competitors. Top priorities include winning the Air Force’s new bomber competition — in partnership with Lockheed Martin against Northrop Grumman — and keeping the vitally important KC-46 aerial tanker program on schedule and budget. McNerney has taken advantage of the dual nature of Boeing’s business, moving top talent from defense to commercial sides of the house, challenging his leadership team to keep them motivated, expose them to new ideas and, most important, keep them in house.


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