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Alumni Profile

Michael Bair

Michael Bair, SF ’93

Vice President of Advanced 737 Product Development, The Boeing Company

  • Has worked at The Boeing Company for more than 30 years
  • Led the Boeing 787 Dreamliner development team, and was responsible for all aspects of the airplane program
  • Served as General Manager for Commercial Aviation Services, restructuring the services business for improved competitiveness and performance

As a vice president at The Boeing Company, Michael Bair has held several different management positions in an organization composed of independent divisions. He credits his experiences among the diverse student body at MIT Sloan for much of his success in managing the large workforce that spans the disparate parts of Boeing.

“Each program values and requires a certain amount of independence to do things in its own way,” Bair explains of Boeing’s infrastructure. “We’re a matrix organization, so we can share common practices and solutions across our programs; but there is a natural tension since some groups may want to operate differently. Our customers often buy across product lines, and that causes dissatisfaction when they feel like they’re talking to different companies within Boeing. It is important that we strike the right balance between the independence needed for the uniqueness of each product and the consistency in operations across all models.”

Bair’s career began in 1979 as an engineer ensuring that Boeing 767s—midsize commercial aircrafts seating 181 to 375 passengers—met industry regulations for noise level. By 1984, he was promoted to senior analyst in Product Strategy Analysis for Commercial Airplanes, researching what newest offerings could be added to the company’s jetliners. Since then, he has held positions in nearly all aspects of the aircraft manufacturer’s business, from marketing to product development.

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