Boeing has chosen Ethiopia over Kenya as the location for its upcoming office, set to launch early next year in Addis Ababa.

The US based plane maker has at the same time appointed Henok Teferra Shawl, a former executive at Ethiopian Airlines, to assume the role of managing director for Boeing’s African division.

This move follows closely on the heels of Ethiopian Airlines Group’s substantial order of more than 65 aircraft from Boeing made recently during the Dubai Air Show, marking the largest-ever order from an African carrier.

Henok brings a wealth of experience to Boeing, having recently served as the chief external affairs officer at Safaricom Telecommunication Ethiopia for six months.

Before that, he held significant positions at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the 2000s and later assumed responsibilities for communications and international affairs at Ethiopian Airlines in 2010.

His career at Ethiopian Airlines saw steady growth, with promotions to the vice presidency and involvement in key boards, including the Star Alliance management board and the board of directors of ASKY Airlines, where Ethiopian holds a 40 percent stake.

Before joining Safaricom Ethiopia earlier this year, Henok served as the Ethiopian Ambassador to various European states, including France and the Vatican, for a four-year term.

As the new managing director for Boeing, Henok will report to Kuljit Ghata-Aura, president of Boeing Middle East, Türkiye, Africa, and Central Asia.

Ghata-Aura expressed enthusiasm about Henok’s appointment, citing his outstanding background in aviation and government relations as assets for advancing Boeing’s mission in the African market.

Notably, Henok is not the first former Ethiopian Airlines executive to secure a prominent role at Boeing. Anbessie Yitbarek, previously an operations and technical executive at Ethiopian Airlines, currently holds the position of vice president for Boeing’s commercial airplanes sales and marketing in Africa.