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Flying High In The Private Sector

Flying High In The Private SectorAftera distinguished career as a highly decorated diplomat, Fletcher graduate Thomas Pickering is looking at the Middle East through different eyes as a Boeing executive.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [06.20.05] In more than four decades of public service, Thomas Pickering served as a diplomat to several countries as well as the United Nations, retiring with the elite title of career ambassador. Now, the Fletcher graduate is bringing a whole new meaning to the term "shuttle diplomacy" as senior vice president for international relations at Boeing. And a region he once focused on as a diplomat is now drawing his business interest.

"We see the Middle East as an area of significant growth, reflecting economic circumstances worldwide and regionally," Pickering told The Daily Star of Lebanon during a recent economic forum in Jordan." This is a tremendous market for Mideast carriers that can take advantage of it."

Pickering (F'54) spent 41 years in the foreign service, serving as an ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria and Jordan and representing the United States in the U.N. from 1989 to 1992. Before joining Boeing in 2001, Pickering served as undersecretary of state for political affairs.

Besides attaining the highest rank of career ambassador, Pickering won the Distinguished Presidential Award in 1983 and 1986, and he received the Distinguished Service Award from the State Department in 1996. This year, he received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution.

But now, Pickering has his mind on private enterprise, drawing from his global experiences as he oversees the airplane manufacturer's relationships with companies and governments around the world.

Boeing is eyeing the Middle East as a promising market for long-range aircraft, the newspaper reported, citing Pickering's expectations of "tens of billions of dollars" in sales over the next decade.

"Many airlines move people in and out of this region with stopovers in hubs, like Dubai, where people stop off to shop and go on.This is an interesting and important new model, given the region's location between two large markets - Europe and North America, on the one hand, and Asia all the way down to Australia, on the other," Pickering told the Star.

Pickering believes that the Middle East could see the same boom of competition taking place in the U.S., creating no-frills, low-cost airlines, as well as mergers and consolidations.

"This is happening at a time of serious growth worldwide," he noted to the Star. "That's all turned around, and the Mideast is part of the renewed global growth in air travel."






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