An affair with a female co-worker has cost the chief executive officer of Boeing Co. his job.
The company's board asked for Harry Stonecipher's resignation after it was revealed that the 68-year-old was having a relationship with the woman, who is an executive at the aircraft maker.
Stonecipher's resignation, which comes just 15 months after he assumed the top job with the company, makes him the second consecutive CEO to leave Boeing under a cloud.
Phil Condit, Stonecipher's predecessor, resigned Dec. 1, 2003 as a result of the defence contracting scandals that led to two Boeing executives being sent to jail.
The unidentified female executive did not report to Stonecipher and remains with the company.
Boeing appointed chief financial officer James Bell, 56, as interim president and CEO.
Boeing's board ordered an investigation of Stonecipher's relationship after chair Lew Platt received information that was sent anonymously to him and to the company's legal and ethics leaders 10 days ago.
The board said the relationship was consensual and had no effect on the conduct of the company's business. However, the company's directors determined that Stonecipher's actions were inconsistent with Boeing's code of conduct.
"The board concluded that the facts reflected poorly on Harry's judgment and would impair his ability to lead the company," said Platt.
"The resignation was in no way related to the company's operational performance or financial condition, both of which remain strong. However, the CEO must set the standard for unimpeachable professional and personal behaviour, and the board determined that this was the right and necessary decision under the circumstances," he said.
Platt said the affair alone was not a violation of Boeing's code of conduct. But he would not be more specific.
The code states that Boeing employees "will not engage in conduct or activity that may raise questions as to the company's honesty, impartiality, reputation or otherwise cause embarrassment to the company," according to the company's web site.
Stonecipher's biography on Boeing's web site says he is married with two children and two grandchildren.
Boeing shareholders appeared not to be very troubled by the shake-up. Boeing shares finished down 8 cents at $58.30 US in trading on the NYSE.