Taking A Steep Nose Dive

McDonnell Douglas is forced to make defense cuts

Among U.S. defense contractors, few would seem better structured to survive the end of the cold war than the giant St. Louis-based McDonnell Douglas (1989 revenues: $14.6 billion). The company's civilian subsidiary, Douglas Aircraft, is the second biggest manufacturer of U.S. commercial passenger jets after Boeing, with 12% of the world market and an unprecedented backlog of nearly 1,200 orders and options on its books.

But for several years the sprawling company has been plagued by missed deadlines, cost overruns and late deliveries. "We let our costs and our overall staffing get out of control," admitted chairman John F. McDonnell. He...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!