Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg out amid 737 Max issues

‘A change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward,’ says company

Vakkas Doğantekin – Decembet 23, 2019

ANKARA (Anadolu) – U.S. aviation company Boeing on Monday announced its current chairman David Calhoun replaced Dennis Muilenburg as chief executive officer and president, days after the company suspended production of its 737 Max jetliner.

“The Board of Directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders,” the company said in a statement.

Muilenberg stepped down from his positions as CEO and board member effective immediately. Calhoun’s new role will be effective Jan. 13.

Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during the transition period, said the company.

On Tuesday, the company suspended production of its 737 Max jetliner as of January, saying the decision has been driven by the extension of certification into 2020, the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return to service and global training approvals, among others.

Lawrence W. Kellner, who became non-executive Chairman of the Board, said Calhoun “recognizes the challenges” Boeing “must confront” for a “new way forward” for the company.

The markets have welcomed the news, which had Boeing stocks soar over 3% when the NYSE opened Monday morning.

Top-selling aircraft model of the Chicago-based manufacturer was grounded worldwide after two crashes which killed hundreds of people and cost the company billions of dollars, creating one of the worst crises of the aviation industry.

On March 10, Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET-302 crashed shortly after taking off from an airport in Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board.

The model was also involved in an October 2018 crash outside of Jakarta, Indonesia. All 189 people on board Lion Air Flight JT610 were killed.

Many countries grounded the model, including the U.S., Turkey, Russia and Iran.

Boeing’s move came only after a public criticism on Dec. 12 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a two-day testimony in October before the Congress, where Muilenburg was grilled and asked by lawmakers and victims’ families to resign.

According to critics, Boeing and Muilenburg had known of the coding errors for over a year, but failed to alert the FAA or airlines until after the Lion Air tragedy.

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