Boeing CEO To Step Down As Safety Concerns Mount

Boeing announced a leadership shakeup on Monday, including the retirement of CEO Dave Calhoun, as the aviation giant faces intense scrutiny following safety disasters and manufacturing concerns.

Aside from Calhoun, who will remain in his position until the end of 2024, Boeing announced two other significant changes to company management.

Stan Deal, Boeing’s head of commercial airlines since 2019, will leave immediately, while Larry Kellner, the company’s chairman and former airline CEO, will leave after the company’s annual meeting this spring.

Stephanie Pope, a senior Boeing executive, will succeed Deal, while former Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf will take over as chairman.

The significant staff changes follow Boeing’s near-catastrophic event in January, when a fuselage panel of a Boeing 737 MAX 9 Alaska Airlines jet blew off mid-flight.

Calhoun described the Alaska Airlines episode as a “watershed moment” for the corporation in a letter to staff.

“The eyes of the world are on us, and I know we will come through this moment a better company, building on all the learnings we accumulated as we worked together to rebuild Boeing over the last number of years,” Calhoun said in a prepared statement.

Shares rose on the statement, which came after the Federal Aviation Administration criticized Boeing’s manufacturing and quality control standards and gave Boeing 90 days to devise a solution.

Restive clients

Boeing also faced intense scrutiny from airlines, which had requested a meeting with the Boeing board in a move interpreted as a hint of discontent among the carriers.

The Alaska Airlines incident thrust Boeing back into the spotlight, following a 20-month grounding of the 737 MAX due to catastrophic disasters in 2018 and 2019.

In recent weeks, the business has faced criticism following a number of potentially deadly incidents, including an engine fire on a Boeing 747 immediately after departure from Florida in January.

Earlier this month, a Boeing 777 airliner heading for Japan was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff from San Francisco after a wheel fell off and crashed into an airport parking lot, destroying many automobiles.

Last week, New Zealand authorities initiated an investigation when a Boeing 787 Dreamliner dramatically lost altitude while flying from Sydney to Auckland, injuring some passengers.

Calhoun told CNBC that the personnel changes were “all about a clear path to give our best people internally an opportunity to shine in front of the board and demonstrate everything that they can do.”

Aside from improving safety and quality control, Calhoun stated that the new Boeing CEO must “know how to handle a big long-cycle business like ours,” which includes directing the company’s next airplane, a $50 billion investment.

Pope, the former head of Boeing Global Services, was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in January. She takes over commercial flights immediately.

Mollenkopf, a Boeing board member since 2020, holds degrees in electrical engineering and will oversee the process of selecting the future CEO.

Shares of Boeing rose 2.6 percent in early trading.

Leave a Reply