Boeing Probe Finds Ethics Scandal An Isolated Incident

By Agence France-Presse The ethics scandal that cost the Boeing Co. two top executives was an isolated incident, according to review of the company's dealings with former government employees released March 9. Lawyers commissioned by the Chicago-based aerospace firm to investigate its track record with regard to government hires said they found no evidence of any other wrongdoing similar to a case involving a top Air Force procurement official that rocked the company last year. The official, Darleen Druyun, allegedly discussed a job at Boeing while she was still at the Air Force in a position to influence a controversial $18 billion tanker deal with the defense giant. Boeing fired both Druyun and then-Boeing CFO Mike Sears, who recruited her, in November when the improper contacts were discovered. The Pentagon suspended the deal the following month, and launched an internal investigation of the affair. Boeing's chief executive officer Phil Condit resigned the same month. The company's board, fighting to restore its tarnished image amid talk of "sweetheart deals" and "incestuous," relationships between Pentagon officials and defense contractors executives, commissioned a Washington law firm to review its policies and procedures relating to government hires. The lawyers reviewed the personnel files of senior executives recruited from government posts in the past five years and found no other examples of non-compliance with the company's own ethics rules. But they did suggest that Boeing tighten up its procedures and make sure they were followed more consistently. Prior to the Druyun incident, the report said, "Our sense is that Boeing's hiring of government and former government officials was not perceived within the company as a high-risk area. "As a consequence, although the company had written policies and procedures addressing both disqualification and post-employment restrictions, those policies and procedures were often not followed in practice." Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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