Nikki Haley’s next step after UN Ambassador could be with Boeing, after the aerospace and defense giant announced on Tuesday that it has nominated her to join its board of directors.
“Boeing will benefit greatly from her broad perspectives and combined diplomatic, government and business experience to help achieve our aspiration to be the best in aerospace and a global industrial champion,” it said in a statement. Commenting on the move, Haley described it as “an honor.”
The news was met with amusement and pointed remarks online, with Twitter commenters calling the move “swampy”and saying it was an example of politics and corporations being closely tied, and of a broken political system. Boeing has close ties with the US government, with its CEO Dennis Muilenburg serving on the Export Council, while acting US Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan is a former senior Boeing executive of more than three decades, Reuters reports.
Others joked about Haley’s non-existent experience in the aerospace and defense industry.
However, Haley forged positive relations with Boeing during her time as North Carolina governor. In 2013, she helped the company set up new facilities in the state, including the complex where Boeing builds its 787 Dreamliner and employs about 7,000 workers.
When she resigned from the UN ambassador role in October, Haley said she would be taking a “step up” into the private sector. Since then, she has been making $200,000 per domestic speaking appearance, CNBC reports.
Haley was a staunch supporter of Israel throughout her tenure at the UN, and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman during her diplomatic stint. Boeing and Israel entered a “reciprocal procurement” partnership in October, with Boeing agreeing to spend billions of dollars in Israel if it wins major defense contracts.
Boeing shares have done well under the Trump administration, rising 200 percent from 2016. Trump’s latest defense policy bill authorized $717 billion in spending and Boeing secured an $805 million contract to build refueling drones.