Identity of woman in Boeing sex scandal revealed

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The Independent Online

The woman who was having an affair with Harry Stonecipher, the Boeing chief executive who was fired on Monday, has been revealed to be Debra Peabody, a Washington-based vice president of the company.

The woman who was having an affair with Harry Stonecipher, the Boeing chief executive who was fired on Monday, has been revealed to be Debra Peabody, a Washington-based vice president of the company.

Boeing stunned shareholders three days ago when it said that Mr Stonecipher, who is married, had been asked to resign because he was having an affair with an unnamed female colleague. The relationship breached the company's code of conduct, Boeing said.

Ms Peabody still works at Boeing. A spokesperson would not confirm her identity as the woman at the heart of the scandal. He did say, however, that "an investigation around her [the unnamed woman's] activities is ongoing".

Ms Peabody, 48, is a Boeing vice-president for operations and commercial activities assigned to the company's Washington government-relations office. She first met Mr Stonecipher, 68, in January at Boeing's annual executive retreat, at the Mission Hills Country Club in Palm Desert, according to reports in the US.

Lew Platt, the chairman of Boeing, said the relationship had come to light after another female employee tipped the board off at the end of last month. Mr Platt said Mr Stonecipher was not in a position to influence the career or salary of the woman he was involved with and added that having an affair in itself did not break the company's ethics code.

He said, however, that details of the affair had emerged which, the board felt, "reflected poorly on Harry's judgement and would impair his ability to lead the company going forward".

There has been speculation that there were e-mails between the two which, if made public, would be highly embarrassing to Mr Stonecipher and, by extension, the company.

Ms Peabody, who is divorced, joined Boeing as a specialist engineer in 1980. In 1998 she moved to London to be sales director for its commercial aeroplane business. In 2001 she became international sales director for Boeing's Connexion.

The revelations come at a sensitive time for Boeing, which is trying to rebuild relations with the US administration and investors after a string of corporate scandals.

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