Mcdonnell's New Pilot Is Raring To Go

Harry Stonecipher is an impatient man. In a meeting at Sundstrand, where he held the top spot until he was named McDonnell Douglas' new chief executive on Sept. 26, Stonecipher sat quietly as executives debated how long they would take to implement a new strategy. Frustrated, he finally interrupted: "While you guys are sitting there looking at your calendars, I'm looking at my watch."

That sense of urgency caught McDonnell Chairman and CEO John McDonnell's eye. "We need to get to the next level," he says. "I believe [Stonecipher] will be a better leader than I would be." The new ceo has his work cut out for him. Although McDonnell earned $396 million last year, before special charges, it faces a new challenge in its core fighter-aircraft business. Meanwhile, it must figure out what to do with its underperforming commercial-aircraft division.

The 58-year-old former General Electric executive may be just what McDonnell needs. Stonecipher insulated Sundstrand from defense cuts by diversifying into new commercial businesses. McDonnell, he says, is "an opportunity for me to make a mark."

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.