Chairman, President and CEO, The Boeing Company (2005–2016); Chairman and CEO, 3M (2000–2005)
Having led some of America’s most distinguished and recognizable companies during a storied business career that includes executive roles at GE, 3M and Boeing, Jim McNerney provides insight on topics such as the competitive advantage created by innovation, leading and sustaining cultural change and strong insights on navigating in a more global and government-centric world.
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Few leaders have the same breadth and depth of executive experience as Jim McNerney. He has presided over some of the world’s largest, most complex and most exciting businesses and companies during a career that has spanned global business icons that include Procter & Gamble, GE, 3M, and most recently, The Boeing Company.
As chairman, president and CEO of Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company at $96 billion in revenues and more than 160,000 employees, McNerney restored the 100-year-old global industrial champion’s reputation by instilling a culture of integrity, accountability and leadership development, and by dramatically improving its business performance with a focus on customer-inspired innovation, growth and continuous productivity improvement. During McNerney’s 11-year tenure, Boeing recaptured its historic market-share lead in commercial airplane deliveries, reasserted its leadership in human spaceflight and preserved its position among America’s top defense contractors, despite a severe downturn in U.S. and other allied nations’ defense spending.
McNerney draws on his experience at Boeing as well as his tenure as chairman and CEO of 3M—then a $20 billion globally diversified technology company—to share critical lessons on innovation, management, leadership development and corporate culture that will inspire audiences to rethink their current business models, priorities and approaches. Before 3M, McNerney spent 19 years at General Electric, where he held top executive leadership positions in GE Aircraft Engines, GE Information Services, GE Lighting, GE Asia-Pacific, GE Electrical Distribution and Control and GE Capital. There is probably no senior business leader who has led a greater diversity of businesses across the breadth of the global economy.
McNerney was named “CEO of the Year” in 2015 by Chief Executive magazine, an honor previously bestowed on Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jack Welch (GE), Michael Dell (Dell Computers) and Bob Iger (Disney). McNerney also remains deeply engaged in the non-profit and business communities. He serves on the Kennedy Center board of trustees by appointment of President Barack Obama and on the board of trustees of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He previously chaired the President’s Export Council and is a past chair of Business Roundtable. He has also chaired the US-China Business Council and The Business Council. He is a director of Procter & Gamble, a director of IBM, a member of The Field Museum Board of Trustees in Chicago, a trustee of Northwestern University and the chair of the Northwestern Memorial HealthCare Board.
W. James McNerney, Jr., Chairman, The Boeing Company
James McNerney on Great Bosses
Jim McNerney’s Speech Topics
Innovation is more critical than ever to succeeding in business, as globalization and digitization now offsets many other competitive advantages such as cost, capacity and supply-chain availability. Done right, innovation drives customer success and loyalty and financial success. But Jim McNerney believes innovation has to be more actively managed than any other activity, needs support and funding through step function changes in productivity in the business base, and when done successfully, is the primary reason “the best of the best” will want to join your company. Using his history of executive leadership at The Boeing Company, 3M and GE, McNerney explores the intersection of innovation, leadership and global competition, and the pitfalls that can occur when too much innovation happens too fast—or when innovation’s pace does not meet market or competitive requirements.
Leading Cultural and Leadership Change
A shared culture and value system is vital to a company’s longevity, but how can leaders drive change when a company’s culture is off course? Jim McNerney believes focusing on leadership development and values, while aggressively addressing bureaucratic insularity, is critical when addressing dysfunctional cultures. Sharing stories from his executive roles at The Boeing Company, 3M and GE, McNerney explores the “hands-on, one-conference-room-at-a-time” approach he took to drive culture change and strategies around the use of both bottom-up and top-down leadership approaches.
Navigating Today’s Global and Government-Centric World
Increasingly this means actively managing the interface with the governments of the U.S. and around the world, and their leaders. Jim McNerney has been actively involved—particularly when leading Boeing—with shaping outcomes at the legislative, administration and regulatory levels in D.C. Much of this work was critical to Boeing, the nation's largest exporter and trade participant. But, his chairmanships of the Business Roundtable (a D.C. advocacy group representing 60% of the U.S. GDP), the President’s Export Council and the US-China Business Council give him unique insights and experiences valuable to all participants and policy issues across the economy.
McNerney provides audiences with insight on the critical trade-offs involved as the current administration considers plans for fiscal, tax, regulatory, trade, and infrastructure re-investment reform.