Doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons
How our Tanker team responded to an inadvertent disclosure of competitor data.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
As you may have read in recent news reports, several weeks ago proprietary information about our competitor’s bid for the U.S. Air Force Tanker program was inadvertently included in a package of data provided to our Tanker team as part of the ongoing competition. It was a situation almost identical to some of the challenge scenarios we have used in our annual Ethics Recommitment training programs. If not handled properly, it could have put our continued participation in the competition at risk, and it certainly could have tarnished the reputation we have worked hard to rebuild after the actions of a handful of people set us back several years ago.
Our Tanker team members responded to this delicate and potentially damaging situation just as we have all been trained. The two employees were alert, calm and professional and followed all the proper procedures without compromising our competitor’s information. Upon the first indication that a disk, which had been inserted into a classified laptop, might contain competitor information, they immediately removed the disk and locked it in a tamper-proof safe without opening any files or viewing any data on the disk. They then contacted the appropriate Boeing offices and sealed the safe in the presence of a Boeing security officer. A call was then placed to the customer, who provided the instructions for what to do next. And, of course, we participated fully and openly in the customer’s investigation into this unfortunate event.
I bring this incident to everyone’s attention for two reasons. First, I am incredibly proud of our two Tanker team members and how they responded to this situation. I know you are proud of them, too, and through this message I want them to know how much we all appreciate that they did the right thing, at the right time, for all the right reasons. Second, this incident should remind everyone that the ethics- and compliance-related situations we train for are real and can present themselves when least expected. That’s why we treat our compliance training, Ethics Recommitment, and Code of Conduct signing as important responsibilities for every member of our team. And it’s why we must remain ever-vigilant in our efforts to adhere to the highest standards of compliance and ethical behavior.
In January, we’ll all be asked to participate in our annual Code of Conduct signing. This year, I encourage you to sign the Code with other members of your local team, and I ask that you pause to reflect on the tanker-data example of two employees who made a real difference for Boeing at an unexpected but very important moment.
Note: I usually sign all my team's Code of Condit forms for them, just for expediency's sake.