Bosses Going At Boeing As Aircraft Maker Hit By Turbulence.

Photo: Library of Congress. A Boeing airliner under construction in South Carolina.
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Boeing’s chief executive Dave Calhoun will leave the giant planemaker that constructs many of the world’s passenger airliners by the end of this year, the company has announced in a press release.

Photo: Boeing Corporation. No laughing matter, as CEO is quitting at the end of the year.

The aircraft maker also said the head of its commercial aircraft business, Stanley Deal, will step aside immediately and its chairman, Larry Kellner, won’t stand for re-election. Deal will be replaced by Stephanie Pope, who was recently appointed operating chief.

Mr Calhoun took on the chief executive role in early 2020 after the previous boss, Dennis Muilenburg, was ousted in the aftermath of one of the biggest scandals in its history.

Within the space of five months, two brand new 737 Max planes had been lost in almost identical accidents that claimed the lives of 346 passengers and crew.

Mr Calhoun promised to strengthen Boeing “safety culture” and “rebuild trust”.

However, in January this year a disused emergency exit door blew off a new Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max shortly after take-off from Portland International Airport.
 

An initial report from the US National Transportation Safety Board concluded that four bolts meant to attach the door securely to the aircraft had not been fitted.

Boeing is reportedly facing a criminal investigation into the incident itself, as well as legal action from passengers aboard the plane.

Boeing has been under pressure since a Jan. 5 midair blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight from investors and airline operators to spell out a plan for fixing the company’s quality problems. A group of airline CEOs had recently requested meetings with Boeing’s board, an unusual move showing their dissatisfaction with the company and Calhoun.

Calhoun, who took the top job about four years ago, had promised a turnaround of the giant manufacturer. Instead, he becomes the second consecutive Boeing boss to exit amid quality concerns and production problems.

His exit leaves the board openly searching for a replacement, and the board is looking both inside and outside its executive ranks for a new leader. That search will be led by a new chairman, Steve Mollenkopf, a former CEO of Qualcomm.

In a memo to staff on Monday, Calhoun said, “The eyes of the world are on us, and I know that we will come through this moment a better company.”

In a letter to staff, he described the Alaska Airlines incident as a “watershed moment” for Boeing and it had to respond with “humility and complete transparency”.

He said he had originally agreed to become chief executive “because of the unprecedented circumstances the company was facing at the time”.

Sources: BBC, Wall Street Journal.
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