Boeing reorganizes defense unit, Kay Sears to lead space and launch business

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Sears will run Boeing's Space, Intelligence & Weapon Systems unit

WASHINGTON — Boeing announced Nov. 17 it is reorganizing its defense and space business, a sector of the company that last month reported nearly $3 billion in losses in the third quarter.

The sector’s losses were blamed on poor-performing Pentagon programs and the long-delayed Starliner capsule, a reusable spacecraft designed to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS), a $26.5 billion a year business, will continue to be led by Ted Colbert, who was named BDS president and CEO in March. 

BDS includes a broad portfolio of fixed-wing and rotary wing aircraft, commercial and government satellites, human spaceflight programs and weapons. 

Boeing announced it will consolidate BDS’s eight divisions into four: Vertical Lift; Mobility, Surveillance & Bombers; Air Dominance; Space, Intelligence & Weapon Systems.

The Space, Intelligence & Weapon Systems sector will be led by space industry veteran Kay Sears, who joined Boeing in February as vice president and general manager of autonomous systems, and was previously vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s military space portfolio.

Sears will oversee space exploration and launch programs, including NASA’s Space Launch System moon rocket, as well as satellites, munitions, missiles, weapon system deterrents, maritime undersea, Phantom Works Space and subsidiaries.

James Chilton, who was senior vice president of space and launch, will transition to a new role as senior advisor to Ted Colbert, focusing on future space ventures. Between now and Feb. 4, 2023, Chilton will continue to manage space exploration and launch programs, satellites and Phantom Works Space. 

“I am confident this reorganization will drive greater and more simplified integration and collaboration across Boeing Defense, Space & Security,” said Colbert. 

“These changes will help accelerate operational discipline and program quality and performance, while stabilizing our development and production programs,” he said. “These are necessary steps to put BDS on the path to stronger, profitable growth.”