McNerney apologizes for ‘cowering’ remark

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney apologized Friday in a companywide message for telling analysts this week that he won’t retire after turning 65 next month because “the heart will still be beating, the employees will still be cowering.”

McNerney’s message called the remark, made Wednesday at the end of a conference call about the company’s quarterly results, “a joke gone bad.”

The comment struck some workers as insensitive. Machinists union international president Tom Buffenbarger issued a statement Friday decrying the “unfunny and unnecessary remarks” as a “reminder that the Jack Welch style of anti-personnel management is still alive and well at Boeing.”

“If he is able to get his foot out of his mouth, the very next thing we hear from Mr. McNerney should be a sincere apology to all employees at Boeing,” Buffenbarger said.

Boeing spokesman John Dern said McNerney had earlier communicated directly with some employees who were upset by his comment, and then posted the message for the entire workforce. He said McNerney’s message went out before the Machinists called for him to apologize.

McNerney’s message says in part, “I was simply trying to make light of my age and tenure at the company on a question that I have been asked at least a dozen times over the past several weeks alone. … There was no intent to slight anyone but myself, and the last thing on my mind was to characterize my relationship with Boeing employees in any negative way.”

It continues: “I should have used different words, and I apologize for them. I will definitely be more careful going forward.”

More in Herald Business Journal

Driving the Dodge Demon, the world’s fastest production car

Our test took place at US 131 Motorsports Park, on a fully prepped professional drag strip.

Mountlake Terrace-based 1st Security Bank wasn’t traded publicly during the recession, but it has seen a steady growth since the recession. (Jim Davis / HBJ)
How stocks in local banks fared since the recession

Every bank was hit hard during the recession, but most have bounced back in a big way.

A look at what some stores have planned for Black Friday

With unemployment low, stores are hoping customers are in a mood to shop.

Boeing bolsters team for potential 797 with leading engineer

Terry Beezhold has been chief project engineer for the 777X program.

Tom Hoban
Are millennials warming up to life in suburbia?

They dominate the apartment market and their wants need to be accounted for, says columnist Tom Hoban.

Camano artist mixes flask, paintings for successful cocktail

Art flasks prove popular as bachelorette gifts, birthday presents and wedding favors.

Katie Garrison
New agent joins Re/Max Elite’s office in Snohomish

Re/Max Elite welcomed a new agent to its Snohomish office. Katie Garrison… Continue reading

UW Bothell Pub Talk looks at Greenhouse Gas Mystery

The Greenhouse Gas Mystery is the topic for the next UW Bothell… Continue reading

EvergreenHealth Monroe pharmacy interns travel to Ghana

Earlier this year, University of Washington School of Pharmacy students and EvergreenHealth… Continue reading

Most Read