Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to Step Down in Wake of Ongoing Safety Problems |

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to Step Down in Wake of Ongoing Safety Problems

Three senior Boeing executives including its CEO are stepping down, the company said Monday.

via: CNN Business

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said Monday he intends to leave the beleaguered company by the end of the year in a major shakeup of the company’s leadership. Boeing’s chairman and the head of the commercial airplane unit are also leaving.

Boeing’s chairman, Larry Kellner, will not stand for re-election as a board director. The board has elected former Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf to succeed him.

The company also announced that Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, is retiring. Stephanie Pope, Boeing’s chief operating officer since January, is taking his place effective immediately.

Boeing has been buffeted by more than five years of problems with its airplanes, including two fatal crashes of the 737 Max in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people, and most recently a door plug that blew out of the side of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max in January, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the plane. The problems have led to multiple groundings for safety issues and more than $31 billion in cumulative losses.

In a letter to Boeing employees Monday, Calhoun called the Alaska Airlines incident “a watershed moment for Boeing.”

“The eyes of the world are on us,” he said in announcing his departure plans. “We are going to fix what isn’t working, and we are going to get our company back on the track towards recovery and stability.”

The decision to leave was “100%” his choice, Calhoun said in an interview on CNBC Monday morning.

But Calhoun has become the focus of many who are critical of the way Boeing has been run in recent decades and the string of safety and quality issues.

“He’s the very best CEO that Airbus has ever had,” said Richard Aboulafia, managing director at AeroDynamic Advisory and a leading aerospace analyst, recently referring to the advantages gained by Boeing’s main rival during his tenure running Boeing.

His departure also comes in the face of widespread criticism of the company by CEOs of many of the world’s major airlines Boeing depends upon to buy its planes. CEOs of numerous airlines had asked to speak directly to the Boeing board last week, which Calhoun tried to characterize Monday as a normal process, even if it’s rare for customers to speak directly to directors.

As to why Calhoun decided to stay on through the end of the year rather than leave immediately, he told CNBC: “We have another mountain to climb. Let’s not avoid what happened with Alaska Air. Let’s not avoid the call for action. Let’s not avoid the changes that we need to make in our factories.”

“We will get through that,” he said. “I’ve committed myself to the board to do exactly that.”

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