Leading development of the Boeing 777 did more than help Alan Mulally rise on the corporate ladder.
It also left him with a new way of signing off on correspondence, both official and personal.
"I started signing my name : (with) the airplane drawing when we were doing the triple-7," said Mulally, now president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "I signed it one time and everybody loved it. It was about airplanes. It was about how fun it was. It was engineering and art, all together.
"Everybody wanted a copy of it."
Such strokes of the pen continue to pay off. Mulally used the smiling airplane on a contract with China, for 60 Dreamliners valued at $7.2 billion, and customers, suppliers and government leaders throughout the world are known to have copies of the smiling, two-wheeled caricature framed on their office walls.
"I've signed just about everything I do - every letter, every contract I sign - with 'Alan' and that airplane face, and they love it - especially our customers, and especially our Asian customers, because they do everything with a sign," Mulally said. "It's become my chop, or my signature - my symbol - so it is kind of recognizable and famous around the world."