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Brunswick Corp.

A steady hand at the helm in turbulent times

A steady hand at the helm in turbulent times

With his flight delayed by wind and driving rain, Brunswick Corp. Chief Executive Dustan McCoy stood just inside a hangar at Waukegan Regional Airport and watched a tiny Cessna trying to land. The pilot finally touched down on his third try.

"I've got to give him credit," said McCoy, a former Army helicopter pilot familiar with distressing situations.

A lawyer by training, he has spent the past several years steering the world's largest maker of marine engines and pleasure boats — luxury items suited for boom times — through the worst economic decline since the Great Depression. McCoy jettisoned 44 percent of its employees in a major downsizing to keep...