Boeing's top lobbyist leaves company

Boeing's top lobbyist leaves company
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Boeing’s top lobbyist Tim Keating has left the company, the commercial aerospace giant announced Monday. 

The firm did not give a reason for his departure. In a memo to Boeing’s government affairs team, CEO David Calhoun said Marc Allen, Boeing’s chief strategy officer, will lead government relations while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Keating, a former adviser to President Clinton, has led Boeing’s lobbying team since 2008. He is credited with helping Boeing keep a close relationship with Congress and the White House, even after fatal crashes of its 737 MAX airplanes in 2018 and 2019 outraged Washington lawmakers. 

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A top defense contractor, Boeing relies heavily on U.S. government contracts. The firm’s defense business was more important than ever last year as the pandemic cut into its commercial airplane sales. 

Keating won several lobbying battles in Washington. He convinced Congress to continue purchasing older fighter jets, such as the F/A-18 Super Hornet and a newer version of the F-15 Eagle, even as military leaders have asked for newer, more advanced jets. 

In 2011, the Air Force awarded Boeing an aerial refueling contract that had initially gone to industry rival Airbus after a lobbying effort from Keating. 

While Keating was a top Clinton adviser, he stayed on during Trump’s presidency and visited the former president at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump criticized Boeing before taking office, but he ultimately developed a friendly relationship with the company’s executives. In 2018, Trump visited a Boeing factory in St. Louis that builds the F/A-18 and praised it as “his favorite plane.”

Boeing has said “we do not intend to comment further” on Keating’s departure. The news was first reported by Defense One.

Before Keating took over government relations for Boeing, he was a lobbyist for the American Council of Life Insurers and Honeywell International.