Dennis Muilenburg, head of Boeing's defense division, will be named chief operating officer of the overall parent company Boeing Co , a source familiar with the decision said on Wednesday, making him the "heir apparent" to the company's chief executive, Jim McNerney.
Chris Chadwick, who now heads Boeing's military aircraft unit, will succeed Muilenburg, 49, at the helm of Boeing's defense division, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the personnel changes.
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Muilenburg and Ray Conner, head of Boeing's commercial business, were both appointed to new roles as vice chairman of the company, Boeing said in a statement.
"It's about putting the right leaders in the right places who can drive business performance," said spokesman John Dern. Dern said there were no specific plans underway for McNerney's retirement but the changes were aimed at insuring the board had a "range of viable options" when McNerney, 64, does retire.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)