Boeing's move hurts NW pride, but injury not fatal

-- The (Everett) Herald, Washington. March 22 on Boeing's move out of Seattle:

Posted: Monday, April 02, 2001

Hey, they're out of here. The Northwest -- and Kansas, St. Louis and Long Beach -- will keep doing the real work for Boeing, while the corporate leaders go somewhere new to think great thoughts. ...

Boeing's corporate headquarters will move to the marvelously progressive and culturally diverse atmosphere of Chicago. Or Denver. Or Dallas-Fort Worth. One of those cities will be the new hothouse for grand progress in aerospace. ...

Certainly, the Pacific Northwest's pride is wounded. But the sense of shock is hardly the only reason for confusion. As Boeing Chairman Phil Condit and the board of directors certainly know, a corporate headquarters can operate anywhere in the modern world. But there were some inherent contradictions in his attempts at explaining the departure from Seattle -- where the company has both its roots and a huge employment center. ...

A culturally diverse location will be selected -- but when Condit meets his new neighbors in the Heartland, he better be ready to explain where Zen originated. And how do you get closer to both Asia and Europe at once, anyway? (Actually, a quick check of flight schedules indicates that Seattle is best positioned for travel to London and Tokyo.)

As best we can tell, the Northwest has not lacked for innovation, corporate success and Condit's flexibility to move capital and talent to the opportunities that maximize shareholder value. But maybe Microsoft, Washington Mutual, Safeco and Weyerhaeuser just aren't thinking big enough.

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