Boeing Names Communications SVP

Boeing (NYSE: BA) has named Phil Musser as the company´s next senior vice president of communications, succeeding Tom Downey, who has announced plans to step down from the role late this month and retire from the company early next year, the company said.

Musser, 45, has more than 20 years of strategic communications and public relations experience, including 10 years as a consultant to Boeing. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of IMGE, an Alexandria, Virginia-based digital communications firm he co-founded in 2013. He will join Boeing Sept. 25, reporting to Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg and will move into Downey´s place on the company´s executive council. He will be based in Chicago.

Downey is the longest-serving Boeing communications chief since the company reshaped itself through a series of mergers and acquisitions in the late 1990s. During his tenure, he led the company´s integrated communications initiatives, coordinating all internal and external activities to support Boeing´s business strategies. He successfully guided the company through a wide range of brand and reputation issues, including challenging new commercial jetliner programs, major defense and space campaigns, multiple plant site selections, labor negotiations, and the US trade case against illegal European airplane subsidies. He also was the architect of the company´s 2016 centennial program.

Prior to his role as the co-founder of IMGE, Musser was the executive director of the Republican Governor´s Association and a senior vice president of Dutko Worldwide, a bi-partisan public policy management firm. He also served as deputy chief of staff and senior policy advisor of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development during the second Bush Administration and was a deputy director of the 2004 G-8 Summit in Sea Island, Ga., for the US Department of State. He holds a bachelor´s degree from Kenyon College.

Downey began his career with the company in 1986 on fighter jet programs in St. Louis, at what was then McDonnell Douglas, which merged with Boeing in 1997. He would go on to lead the communications arms of the commercial airplanes and defense and space businesses at both McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, working directly with seven past Boeing and McDonnell Douglas CEOs. He is a graduate of Saint Louis University.