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Boeing Shifts Leaders for 747-8 Jet After Delay on Dreamliner

Boeing Co. said it will replace the head of its 747-8 Freighter program, plagued by production delays, hours after announcing the sixth postponement in shipments of the 787 Dreamliner.

Pat Shanahan will lead efforts to certify and deliver the 747-8, assuming the post from Mohammad Yahyavi, according to a memo to Boeing employees yesterday. Yahyavi will “take on a special assignment,” said the memo from Shanahan, who is vice president and general manager of airplane programs.

Boeing said last month the revamped 747 jumbo jet program may not make its first delivery until 2011, after a fourth production delay. Workmanship and design issues put the freighter at higher risk of not being delivered on time than the 787, Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney said on July 28.

Boeing, the world’s second-biggest commercial planemaker after Airbus SAS, has said it plans to ship the first 747-8 to Cargolux Airlines International SA by the end of the year, and McNerney had said that goal may slip into January.

Earlier yesterday, Chicago-based Boeing said it expects to deliver the first 787 in the middle of the first quarter of 2011. That marked the latest delay for a plane that was supposed to enter service in 2008 and has been postponed by parts shortages, redesign work and a greater reliance on suppliers.

Shanahan’s memo, sent to all airplane-program workers, said the second half presents challenges in the push to get the 747-8 Freighter and the Dreamliner certified and delivered.

“In an effort to align resources, I am making some personnel changes to achieve our development milestones,” the memo said.

The 747-8 management changes are effective Aug. 30.

Elizabeth Lund, who has been the vice president and general manager of the 767 program, will join the 747 program as deputy program manager, according to the memo.

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