Sanford “Sandy” McDonnell, former McDonnell Douglas CEO and nephew of McDonnell Aircraft founder James McDonnell, died on Monday at age of 89.
Sanford McDonnell, who helped turning around the company in the 1970s, began his career as a technician during World War II for the Manhattan Project, which developed the world’s first atomic bomb.
After the war, he joined his uncle’s company McDonnell Aircraft and over the years he took on a number of jobs like aerodynamicist and aircraft designer. Later he became group leader on the F-101 Voodoo fighter jet and general manager for the F-4 Phantom.
After the merger of McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft in 1967, he became director and in 1972 chief executive of the company.
During his tenure, McDonnell Douglas won a contract to build the F/A-18 Hornet, which is operated since 1983 and still is in demand worldwide.
Mr. McDonnell retired as chairman of the company in 1988.
Boeing – rival for many years, which bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997 – released the following statement:
“The people of Boeing extend our deepest sympathies to the McDonnell family, and join them in mourning Sandy’s passing. Sandy’s commitment to his colleagues and customers, his country, and his community during his 40-year career and throughout his lifetime, was extraordinary.”
If you want to learn more about Mr McDonnell, on the Boeing website can be found the featured story “Generations of Pride”: http://www.boeing.com/Features/2010/11/bds_generations_11_29_10.html as well as his biography.