James Bell Is Boeing’s Top Numbers Guy

The outlook on black executives at the helm of top U.S. businesses remains bleak. However, things are looking up with the appointment of James A. Bell as CFO of Boeing, the $50 billion aerospace company. Bell had been acting CFO since Nov. 24, when his predecessor Michael Sears was fired following an internal investigation. A 31-year veteran of company finance, Bell had already impressed Wall Street analysts who cover the company.
“James Bell is a superior financial leader,” Boeing President and CEO Harry Stonecipher said. “He is a proven, highly skilled manager who has intimate knowledge of our strategy and champions fiscal transparency. James will be a key member of our leadership team.”

A Los Angeles native, Bell came to Boeing with its 1996 purchase of Rockwell International Corp.’s aerospace and defense units. He joined Rockwell as an accountant in 1972 and climbed the ladder into executive positions in auditing, program management, and finance.

With the Boeing acquisition, Bell, 55, became vice president of contracts and pricing at the former Rockwell units in Southern California. In October 2000, he became Boeing’s senior vice president of finance and corporate controller, the No. 2 financial-management position under Sears. —

BLACK ENTERPRISE black “digerati” Charles Phillips was promoted to share the position of co-president of Oracle Corp., along with fellow former vice president Safra A. Catz. The announcement came after Lawrence J. Ellison stepped down as chairman but remained as CEO, and CFO Jeff Henley succeeded Ellison as board chairman as part of the company’s executive realignment. Phillips also was named to Oracle’s board of directors. “Chuck Phillips is that rare individual who understands both the customer and technology. Over the years he has earned the trust and respect of people throughout the industry,” Ellison said. The 44-year-old executive came to the Redwood Shores, California-based database and software company last May, after a stellar career as a financial analyst commenting on trends and players in the software market. Prior to Oracle, he worked for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and, in 2000, was ranked No 1. financial analyst by TheStreet.com.