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Frank Shrontz, Former Boeing CEO, Dies at 92

Frank Shrontz, who led Boeing as its Chief Executive Officer for a decade from 1986 to 1996, has passed away at the age of 92. Shrontz died on May 3, according to the Seattle Mariners baseball team where he was an ownership partner.

During his tenure at Boeing, Shrontz oversaw an era of great innovation and growth for the aviation giant. Though he was not an engineer by training, he encouraged the development of new aircraft like the breakthrough Boeing 777 long-range jet and upgrades to the company’s famous 747 jumbo jet and 737 models.

Fierce Competition and Expansion

This helped Boeing compete fiercely against its rival Airbus during the late 20th century. Under Shrontz’s leadership, Boeing’s annual sales grew from $16 billion in 1986 to $35 billion by 1995 as production increased significantly.

However, Shrontz also had to guide Boeing through difficult times after the 1991 Gulf War led to a global slowdown in aircraft orders. This forced painful cuts, with the company shedding almost 40,000 jobs by 1995 as he restructured operations.

Despite the challenges, Shrontz expanded Boeing’s footprint through key acquisitions like purchasing the aerospace divisions of Rockwell International in 1996 for $3.2 billion. He also paved the way for Boeing’s merger with McDonnell Douglas in 1997 after his retirement.

A Collaborative and Decisive Leader

Those who knew him described Shrontz as an engaging but decisive leader who valued input from engineers, factory workers and others while still making tough calls. He fostered a collaborative environment that developed future leaders like successor CEOs Philip Condit and Alan Mulally.

A Remarkable Journey

Shrontz was born in 1931 in Boise, Idaho and practiced law before joining Boeing in 1958. He left for government roles in the 1970s before returning to ultimately run the aerospace company.

With his wife Harriet preceding him in death in 2012, Shrontz is survived by sons Craig, Richard and David. His decadelong leadership left an indelible mark on Boeing’s history.

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