John McDonnell (businessman)


John McDonnell
EducationBachelor's in aeronautical engineering, Princeton University (1960),

Master's of aeronautical engineering, Princeton University (1962),

MBA, Washington University in St. Louis (2014)
Spouse(s)Anne McDonnell
Parent(s)James Smith McDonnell, Mary Elizabeth Finney
John McDonnell signature.gif

John F. McDonnell (born 1938) is an American businessman, engineer, and philanthropist. McDonnell served as the chairman of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation from 1988 until its merger with Boeing in 1997 and its chief executive officer from 1988 until 1994. He was a corporate director at Boeing from the 1997 merger until 2012, when he reached the Boeing-mandated retirement age of 74.[1]

Early life and career

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1938, McDonnell is the son of McDonnell Aircraft founder James Smith McDonnell and Mary Elizabeth Finney.[citation needed] A graduate of St. Louis Country Day School (now Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School), McDonnell completed his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in aeronautical engineering at Princeton University in 1960 and 1962, respectively.[citation needed] He earned an MBA from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, which also awarded him an honorary doctorate in science in 2006.[2] After marrying his wife Anne in 1961, McDonnell began working for MAC as a strength engineer on Project Gemini the following year.[3] He was instrumental in founding McDonnell Douglas Finance Corporation in Los Angeles and ultimately becoming a vice president of the division in 1968.[4] After McDonnell became Chairman in 1988, he helped create the newsmagazine 90 Days as a way to keep employees and shareholders abreast of what was going on in McDonnell Douglas.

After McDonnell Douglas and Boeing merged in 1997, McDonnell himself held the title of largest individual shareholder in the combined company in March 2003.[5] In addition to his continued involvement with Boeing, he is also a director of BJC HealthCare, chairman of the board of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and vice chairman of the board of Washington University.[6] McDonnell is also a lifetime trustee of the St. Louis Science Center.[7] He, along with his brother, James S. McDonnell III, sit on the Board of Directors of the James S. McDonnell Foundation, which is based in St. Louis, MO.[8] In 2006, McDonnell and the JSM Charitable Trust endowed $10 million to Washington University for the creation of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.[9] Commenting on the program McDonnell said, "So far the Academy has progressed beyond my expectations."[9] McDonnell was later named St. Louis "Citizen of the Year" in 2009.[10] McDonnell resides in the St. Louis area, and enjoys traveling and tennis as hobbies.[10]


  1. ^ "John McDonnell steps down from Boeing board". The Seattle Times. May 3, 2012.
  2. ^ "Washington University Announces $20 Million McDonnell Scholarship Challenge". Washington University in St. Louis. April 6, 2021.
  3. ^ "John F. McDonnell". Boeing. Archived from the original on 2008-02-03. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  4. ^ "The Odd Couple at McDonnell Douglas". Fortune. April 6, 2021.
  5. ^ Sybert, Laurie (2004-01-16). "John McDonnell puts his mark on Boeing". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  6. ^ "John McDonnell Profile". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  7. ^ "Saint Louis Science Center Leadership". Saint Louis Science Center. Archived from the original on 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  8. ^ "James S. McDonnell Foundation About Us". Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Skwiot,Rick. "Educating Future World Leaders." Washington University in St. Louis Magazine. Vol. 77,No. 2, Pgs. 20-25. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  10. ^ a b Leiser, Ken (2009-01-11). "John F. McDonnell: Citizen of the Year". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-01-11.[permanent dead link]