Niel Golightly "resigned" last month. He was the chief of corporate communications for aircraft maker Boeing, but he had spent a good chunk of his career in the auto industry, mainly at Ford.
An employee anonymously lodged an ethics complaint against Golightly, citing a 1987 magazine article he wrote, just a decade after that Parke-Davis ad appeared. In it, a 29-year-old Golightly argued that women should not be eligible for combat.
It was a hot debate at the time. Golightly, then a Navy lieutenant, sided with the status quo.
He wrote: "We should ask ourselves not only whether women can physically and mentally perform basic combat functions — shooting a rifle, operating a missile system, loading bombs on a carrier deck — but, as well, whether women and men can adapt emotionally to the socially radical step of fighting side-by-side."
As he explained in his farewell note to Boeing colleagues, he was wrong then. Painfully wrong.
That didn't matter to Boeing. It doesn't need a crisis within its PR department on top of the public relations crisis triggered by those two 737 MAX jetliners that crashed after takeoff.