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Wednesday, November 1, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Flying into New Economy

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Boeing yesterday created three new business units to capture opportunities emerging in the New Economy.

The units are Connexion by Boeing, which aims to provide high-speed Internet and entertainment services to commercial airplanes and business jets; Air Traffic Management, an effort to overhaul and improve the technology for air-traffic control and airport operations; and Boeing Capital Corp., the company's growing financial-services arm.

This expands Boeing's operating units to six and puts these New Economy ventures on equal footing with the company's core businesses: Commercial Airplanes, Military Aircraft and Missiles, and Space and Communications.

"These are areas where we have real opportunity to grow the business," said Phil Condit, Boeing's chairman and chief executive. "We want to turn the opportunity into reality."

The company, with the board's blessing Monday, selected leaders for each new unit; they will report directly to the Office of the Chairman, serve as corporate officers and participate as members of Boeing's Executive Council--the aerospace company's senior-leadership team.

The new leaders will be responsible for Boeing's push into these new services and after-market businesses--markets the aerospace giant once avoided but now sees as a huge opportunity to expand into high-margin growth businesses.

Since recovering from serious production problems two years ago, Boeing has been aggressively leveraging its core technology strengths into these New Economy products and services while still focusing on its core airplane business.

With the creation of the three new units, the leaders will be able to concentrate on the business and on the opportunities, which Condit believes is huge.

Scott Carson, 54, formerly chief financial officer for Boeing Commercial, has been given the most high-profile of Boeing's New Economy jobs.

He will become president of Connexion by Boeing, which Condit believes will change the way people think about travel. The Internet service, which is in development, will provide two-way broadband connection to each aircraft seat.

John Hayhurst, 52, will lead Boeing's efforts to overhaul and improve air-traffic management systems.

Formerly a vice president of business development for Commercial Airplanes, Hayhurst has been tapped for some of Boeing's most challenging assignments and perhaps now has the toughest one of his career.

As president of Boeing's Air Traffic Management unit, his responsibilities will include proposing to the federal government a comprehensive plan that would help airports absorb growing air traffic and congestion.

James Palmer, 51, formerly senior vice president of Shared Services, now has the responsibility of revving up Boeing Capital Corp. beyond its current $4 billion portfolio.

As president of the newly expanded lending and leasing unit, Palmer's goal will be to turn it into a financial powerhouse similar to General Electric's successful financial-services arm.

Laurette Koellner, 46, will succeed Palmer as senior vice president of the Shared Services group, making her the highest-ranking female executive at Boeing since former Chief Financial Officer Debby Hopkins.

Stanley Holmes' phone-message number is 206-464-2732. His e-mail address is sholmes@seattletimes.com.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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