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Originally published at 4:48 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — As expected, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has been selected as the next chairman of the board by the company’s board of directors, Boeing announced Monday.

Muilenburg, 52, became Boeing’s 10th CEO last July, replacing W. James McNerney Jr., who remained on as chairman of the board. Muilenburg will assume the new duties on March 1, when McNerney’s retirement becomes official.

In a prepared statement, Boeing independent Lead Director Kenneth M. Duberstein thanked McNerney for his 10 years of service as chairman, including leadership during an important period of renewal and growth.

“Dennis has proved that he has the leadership skills, energy and vision to build on the strong foundation that Jim established. We look forward to working with him for many years to come as we continue to serve our customers and shareholders, and create new opportunities for Boeing's next 100 years," Duberstein said.

Muilenburg has previously served as president and CEO of Boeing Defense Space & Security and as president of the unit's Global Services & Support business. He also led Boeing's Combat Systems division. He joined the company in 1985 as an intern.

Speaking last year about Muilenburg’s promotion to CEO, Richard Aboulafia, the Teal Group's vice president of analysis, said he will face some tough decisions, especially if Boeing didn't win the competition for the US Air Force's Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B). In November, the US Air Force awarded the contract to Northrop Grumman, and last week the General Accountability Office denied Boeing’s protest of the award.

"You lose a program like LRS-B, you have to make big decisions at the corporate level," Aboulafia said at the time. Even winning the competition for the T-X, the US Air Force's next-generation trainer program, would not necessarily be enough for Boeing to remain competitive in the sector, he said.

Aboulafia agreed that Muilenburg's promotion represents continuity in leadership for Boeing.

"He's always been the most stable and well-received and well-liked option," he said. "He does have a very strong reputation and strong background."

Email: aclevenger@defensenews.com

Twitter: @andclev

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