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Analysis: Why Boeing Nominated Nikki Haley To Its Board of Directors

Chris Dier-Scalise

Multinational aerospace and defense company Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) announced Tuesday that it nominated former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to its board of directors. Haley, who served as ambassador during President Donald Trump’s first year in office, resigned from the position in December.

Haley’s nomination comes as Boeing is coming off a second year of record sales figures, peaking at $101.127 billion in annual revenue. This result came despite worries over the company’s international business being hampered by trade conflicts between the U.S. and China as well as many of its most important trading partners.

Haley’s Business Resume

Haley’s addition to the board could signal as a new type of ambassadorial role for the former South Carolina governor.

Haley's private sector experience is limited to her work with her family’s clothing company, Exotica International, for which she served as CFO. During that time, Haley also took on several roles with various chambers of commerce and eventually entered into elected public service roles.

Haley’s Political Career

In a 2004 election, Haley won the Republican nomination to the South Carolina House of Representatives, which she claimed in an unopposed election to become the state’s first Indian-American to hold elected office.

Haley won the governorship six years later, making economic revival in the state a top priority. During her first year in office, South Carolina’s jobless rate from 10.5 percent to 4.4 percent. She served a full term before winning re-election in 2014, which brought more success in the form of a Volvo production plant that began operations just last year.

Midway through her second term as governor, Haley was offered and accepted her most recent role as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Her tenure was strained by increasingly combative international relations stemming from  Trump’s stated nationalist and protectionist foreign policy. 

Despite her long history in politics, Haley’s track record speaks to a business-minded professional, which could serve a valuable guiding hand in navigating Boeing’s executive team. Her professional acumen earned her a speaking role at this year’s SALT Conference in Las Vegas.

Boeing’s Goals

Haley’s dealmaking experience is likely a key reason behind Boeing’s board nomination. The move comes as Boeing is increasingly faced with persistent trade worries as well as growing uncertainty surrounding the global economy.

Boeing's share price is at an all-time high and, in its most recent earnings announcement, the company raised its revenue guidance for FY19 to a range between $109.5-$111.5 billion.

While Haley’s role on the board could represent an opportunity in generating further international opportunity and exposure, Boeing, at the moment, isn’t particularly wanting for business.

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Public domain photo via Wikimedia. 

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