Niel Golightly resigned today as Senior Vice President of Communications at the Boeing Company. Boeing has initiated a search for his successor. In the interim, the communications function will report to Greg Smith, Executive Vice President of enterprise operations and chief financial officer until a permanent successor is named.
Niel’s decision to resign stems from an employee complaint that brought to the Company’s attention an article he wrote in 1987 while serving in the military, about whether women should serve in combat.
Boeing does not agree with the views expressed in the article, and it does not reflect Niel’s views today. “My article was a 29-year-old Cold War navy pilot’s misguided contribution to a debate that was live at the time. My argument was embarrassingly wrong and offensive. The dialogue that followed its publication 33 years ago quickly opened my eyes, indelibly changed my mind, and shaped the principles of fairness, inclusion, respect and diversity that have guided my professional life since. The article is not a reflection of who I am; but nonetheless I have decided that in the interest of the company I will step down,” said Golightly.
“Niel and I discussed at length the article and its implications for his role as the Company’s lead spokesman,” said David Calhoun, President and CEO. “I greatly respect Niel for stepping down in the interest of the company. I thank him for his contributions to the Boeing Company, which have been substantial even in a short time. Our Executive Council and I thank him and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Mr. Calhoun added, “I want to emphasize our Company’s unrelenting commitment to diversity and inclusion in all its dimensions, and to ensuring that all of our employees have an equal opportunity to contribute and excel.”