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Four Things You Didn’t Know About Boeing’s New CEO

Here's some fun facts about Dennis Muilenburg, who takes over as Boeing's CEO today.

The world’s largest aerospace company is waving farewell to CEO W. James McNerney as his successor, Dennis Muilenburg, takes over duties as CEO of Boeing today.

Muilenburg’s takeover happens to coincide with a few milestones. This year marks Muilenburg’s thirty year anniversary with Boeing, during which he ran the military branch of the company and served as president and COO. Additionally, Boeing is gearing up to celebrate its centennial next year.

McNerny described Muilenburg as well-respected and passionate. He also has the reputation for being dynamic, focused and hyper-competitive.

Loren Thompson of Forbes writes, “He shares [former Boeing CEO] McNerney’s affinity for sports and exercise, often bicycling dozens of miles in a day, but there is an intensity to his personality that one seldom encounters elsewhere in the button-down aerospace sector.”

Here are other fun facts that you might not have known about Muilenburg:

He’s an avid cyclist.

The Wall Street Journal piece on Muilenburg entitled “Boeing’s Incoming CEO Is Engineer With Swagger” notes that the new CEO spends a lot of time on his bicycle and is “on pace for riding 6,000 miles this year.” He apparently rides about 120 miles per week around the Chicago area, where Boeing is headquartered.

He began working at Boeing as an intern.

51-year-old Muilenburg has spent the better part of his life as a Boeing employee. He started off as an engineering intern with the company in 1985 and worked his way up to the top position over 30 years.

He’s a huge fan of Diet Mountain Dew.

According to Jon Ostrower and Doug Cameron of The Wall Street Journal, those who have worked with Muilenburg say that he gets his jolt from chugging Diet Mountain Dew instead of coffee, the more traditional energy booster.

He is an engineer first.

Muilenburg received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University and his master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington. Christopher Drew of The New York Times writes, “Richard L. Aboulafia, an aviation analyst with the Teal Group in Fairfax, Va., said Boeing’s engineers would cheer the return, in Mr. Muilenburg, of an engineer to the chief executive’s suite.” Previous CEO McNerney had a lackluster reputation for fostering positive labor relations, and some think that Muilenburg’s engineering background could make him a better fit for navigating those issues.

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