Boeing’s top execs are defying their return to the office – with CEO’s private jet rarely making a stop at Virginia headquarters from his lavish lake home in New Hampshire – even as they target lower level staff to return
- Boeing is trying to lure employees back to the office with happy hours and even visits from alpacas but low level employees believe executives should follow suit
- CEO David Calhoun has taken over 400 private jet trips from his homes and is rarely seen in the Virginia headquarters prefer to work remotely
- The company CFO is also rarely seen at HQ despite Boeing also recently opening a small office in Connecticut just five minutes away from home
Boeing’s senior executives have decided not to relocate closer to head office despite the company insisting lower level employees return following the end of the pandemic.
The execs, including David Calhoun who became Boeing’s CEO in January 2020, are instead commuting to the company’s Virginia headquarters via private jet.
During the pandemic Calhoun regularly worked from his two mansion-like homes consisting of a waterfront estate on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire and a gated resort community in Buffalo, South Carolina.
Flight records looked at by the Wall Street Journal show Calhoun took more than 400 flights on Boeing’s private jets.
Some of the flights were to Boeing’s newly relocated head offices in Arlington, Virginia, having previously been in Chicago.
Calhoun is forced to use a Boeing-supplied private jets for all of his travel for both business and personal trips for security reasons, as stipulated by Boeing’s board.
The logs do not make clear which trips were for business and which were for pleasure.
Similarly, Boeing CFO Brian West is another senior executive who has decided not relocate from his home in New Canaan, Connecticut.
Boeing does in fact have an office having opened premises in New Canaan in the spring of this year just five minutes from West’s home, but it was to accommodate the company’s new treasurer, David Whitehouse, rather than West.
Whitehouse began working for Boeing in February and lives half an hour away from the Connecticut office.
Calhoun and West have rarely been spotted at Boeing’s Arlington offices since opening two years ago, despite the company pushing for lower-ranking employees to return in-person.
Managers pushing for a return have tried a host of tactics to entice workers back to their desks including after work happy hours, inviting guest speakers, and even bringing alpacas in the hope some staff would be tempted to return.
The results have had limited success.
It’s a familiar story for workers across the country who are being asked to return to the office with particular frustration brewing over being asked to be at their desk for for tasks that can easily be performed remotely.
The discontent only brews when executives like Calhoun continue to work from home, occasionally commuting via private jets.
In the Arlington HQ, some signs have appeared stating ‘Lake Sunapee’ while some have souvenir mugs that read: ‘Love Lake Life’ – a clear dig at Calhoun’s relaxing lakeside life.
A Boeing spokesperson emphasized their efforts to transform the leadership culture by allowing senior leaders to spend more time out of the office.
‘We have been transforming our leadership culture to encourage our management team to engage more frequently with employees, customers and other stakeholders. It’s why we moved senior leaders out of our Chicago office and closer to their teams three years ago, and why we continue to empower them to spend less time at corporate headquarters and more time with employees and stakeholders,’ a statement read.
A company spokesperson also highlighted the benefits of increased flexibility, which they say supports the company’s global business and helps to attract top talent.
But only about 30 percent of Boeing’s recent job postings are for hybrid or entirely remote positions.
Of the 129 open job positions in Arlington, Virginia require showing up to the office in-person.