CHICAGO - Boeing Co, whose shares have gained about 14 percent this year, faces some uncertainty as it reshuffles management of its commercial airplanes division, which includes the long-delayed 787 Dreamliner program.
The plane-maker said on Monday that it has named Jim Albaugh, former head of Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), as chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA). Albaugh replaces Scott Carson, who led the unit since 2006. Dennis Muilenburg will succeed Albaugh as IDS chief executive.
Boeing shares traded at $48.87 at midday on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Data from the NYSE show that as of Aug. 11, 2.9 percent of the outstanding Boeing shares were shorted.
Troy Lahr at Stifel Nicolaus wrote in an Aug. 31 research note that he has a Buy rating on Boeing shares with a price target of $59. Lahr said Albaugh's appointment is unlikely to lead to sweeping changes but he is a near-term solution to the BCA vacancy.
We view this as an incremental positive given the significant overhang relating to problems on the 787 program, Lahr said.
While we do not attribute all of the issues to Scott Carson's management, we believe fresh ideas and new management are a welcome change, he said. In our opinion, investors have long lacked confidence in BCA program timelines and production schedules, and we believe this is a small step forward.
David Strauss, analyst at UBS Investment Research, wrote in an Aug. 31 research note that he has a Sell rating on Boeing shares with a price target of $30. He noted that Albaugh oversaw IDS during a time when the company lost several large defense competitions and saw its biggest programs cut.
IDS' mixed track record of execution and program losses under Albaugh make him a surprise choice relative to hiring someone from the outside, Strauss said.
We don't see any significant strategy or directional changes either at BCA or IDS as a result of the changes announced today. However, leadership changes at both businesses add further risk to the story, he said.
(Reporting by Kyle Peterson; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)