Boeing's interim CEO told employees yesterday that the process to select a new chief executive officer for the aerospace firm will be "deliberate"...

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CHICAGO — Boeing’s interim CEO told employees yesterday that the process to select a new chief executive officer for the aerospace firm will be “deliberate” and is expected to last for months.

James Bell, who was promoted to acting CEO on March 6 after the ouster of Harry Stonecipher, told Boeing’s 160,000 workers in an internal message that “there will be no change in strategy, no reversals of business decisions” during his short tenure.

Bell, who also remains chief financial officer and is not a candidate for the long-term CEO’s job, said change is not necessary because Boeing’s operational and financial performance is “the strongest it’s been in some time.”

Boeing’s board named the 56-year-old Bell to the interim post after forcing Stonecipher to resign, citing improper behavior related to an affair he had with a female company executive. In his first companywide communiqué as president and CEO, Bell did not address specifics of the recent turmoil but noted it has been “an intense and busy 10 days for all of us.”

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“The Boeing board of directors, led by Chairman Lew Platt, is following a thorough, deliberate process to select the best leader to take Boeing forward,” he said in the message.

The Chicago-based company has two strong internal candidates to succeed Stonecipher — Alan Mulally, who heads the commercial-aircraft unit in Seattle, and Jim Albaugh, head of the St. Louis-based defense operation. Boeing officials have declined to discuss the selection process except to say both internal and external candidates will be considered.