CEO Steps Down Amid Controversy

( – Boeing’s top executive intends to retire at the end of 2024. CEO David Calhoun has held the position since January 2020 when he stepped in to “fix Boeing” after two fatal crashes involving 737 MAX aircraft in 2018 and 2019. Calhoun promised to change the way Boeing “approaches safety and engineering.” It would seem that Calhoun never achieved the goal as his decision to depart follows more safety mishaps. Boeing is under “extreme scrutiny” after a door-plug panel blew off a new Alaska Airlines Max jet in January 2024.

According to investigators, bolts were missing that would normally hold the panel in place. The bolts became missing after repairs were made at the Boeing factory. There was no documentation about the bolts.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has limited the production of 737s after reviewing a 737 factory near Seattle. The company received failing marks in multiple areas of production and has until the end of May to submit proposed plans for improvement to the FAA.

A string of manufacturing flaws delayed the production of new 737s and 787 Dreamliners causing carriers to reevaluate growth plans.

A group of U.S. Airline CEOs requested meetings with directors at Boeing, excluding Calhoun, to discuss their frustration with how the Alaska Airlines accident was managed. Analysts and investors believe the culture of the company needs to be changed “from the top” which will depend on Calhoun’s replacement.

Ed Pierson, a former manager at Boeing’s 737 factory agreed that it will be difficult to change the culture, but the people at Boeing are capable. He suggested the employees need to feel “valued and supported” instead of just being pressured to produce planes.

Calhoun said the decision to step down was his and comes as one of many management changes. Stanley Deal, head of commercial aircraft, is resigning immediately. Larry Kellner will not stand for re-election. The former CEO of Qualcomm will step in as board chair and lead the search for Calhoun’s replacement.

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