Boeing relocation divides all loyalties

SEATTLE: Boeing's PR department is planning and executing the

company's headquarters relocation, even as it works to reassure Seattle

that it will remain a significant player in the community.

Larry McCracken, Boeing VP of PR, is part of the site relocation team,

and will be visiting each of the three cities under consideration,

Chicago, Dallas and Denver. Since the news broke, the PR office has been

fielding daily phone calls from constituents in each city, who have been

requesting information on site visits and the company's criteria for

choosing a new hometown.

Meanwhile, Seattle's media have been interviewing head of commercial

airplanes Alan Mulally, who will remain in Seattle. 'He is communicating

that Boeing is committed to the region,' said John Dern, director of

media relations, acknowledging that the relocation announcement took

many people by surprise.

Job losses may occur as the company reduces the total headquarters staff

from 1,000 to about 500. There are 35 staff members in corporate


The three competing cities are gearing up major PR pushes to attract

Boeing, with Edelman working for two of the three cities. Edelman's

Chicago office, which already works with Illinois' department of

commerce and community affairs (although the account is under review -

see story, p. 2), has agreed to work on the Boeing project.

The Dallas and Forth Worth chambers of commerce are working with local

governments to lure Boeing to the area, with Edelman's Dallas office

helping on a pro bono basis. Another local agency, Whitherspoon, has

helped Dallas create a Web site to inform Boeing about the area.

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