Joan Robinson-Berry, who took over Boeing Co.'s operations in North Charleston in June 2016, is heading to Plano, Texas, to take a job with the aerospace giant's Global Services division.
Robinson-Berry, who has an engineering background, will become vice president of engineering maintenance and modification for the company's relatively new business unit that provides technical support to commercial and defense customers worldwide.
Boeing spokesman Victor Scott said the company is "in the midst of a screening process" to hire a new GM for the Boeing South Carolina site, which assembles the 787 Dreamliner wide-body commercial jet.
While Robinson-Berry's new position will take her to sites around the globe, she will be keeping her home in the Charleston area to continue the philanthropic work she's been involved in locally, Scott said.
Robinson-Berry has been with Boeing for more than 30 years. She took over the North Charleston plant when Beverly Wyse left to become president of Boeing's shared services division. They succeeded Jack Jones and Tim Coyle as top managers of the North Charleston operations that Boeing established in 2009.
Robinson-Berry helped oversee a ramp up in Dreamliner production from 10 to 12 per month, split with Boeing's plant in Everett, Wash., and development of the company's 787-10 Dreamliner — the program's largest and most fuel-efficient variant that is built exclusively in North Charleston.
She also led the plant through a contentious labor union battle in which hourly workers rejected representation by the International Association of Machinists by a 3-to-1 vote in February 2017. The IAM returned earlier this year, winning a vote last week to represent about 176 flight line workers at the Dreamliner campus. Her transfer to Texas preceded the election.
The Global Services division began operations about a year ago as a way to increase revenue and improve customer service. Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing's CEO, president and chairman, estimates the commercial and government services sector is valued at roughly $2.6 trillion over the next decade.
On the waterfront
The State Ports Authority last week sold $325 million in long-term revenue bonds to help finance construction of a new container terminal, improvements to an existing terminal and purchases of ship-to-shore cranes and other equipment needed to service big container ships visiting the Port of Charleston.
In addition, the authority will retire about $140 million worth of debt from a 2010 bond issue.
Jim Newsome, the SPA's president and CEO, said the latest bonds were issued at an interest rate of 3.92 percent.
The maritime agency, along with state and federal governments, are spending about $2 billion on projects to make the port more accessible to large container ships transiting the Panama Canal. That includes a $558 million project to deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet, giving the port the East Coast's deepest waterway.