Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to step down by end of year


Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun is stepping down. The management shakeup comes as the aircraft manufacturer’s struggles with production problems and a mid-air blowout of a door panel on one of its Boeing 737 Max 9 planes has spurred regulatory scrutiny.

In a Monday statement, the company said Calhoun will remain in his role until the end of 2024 in order “to lead Boeing through the year to complete the critical work underway to stabilize and position the company for the future.”

Calhoun’s departure announcement comes four years after he stepped into the CEO role with the mandate to stabilize the company following two crashes of Boeing aircraft back in 2018 and 2019. But Boeing manufacturing has continued to draw scrutiny under Calhoun’s term, with the January mid-air blowout involving a Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliner.

“Boeing is in deep need of a change in culture around safety and quality,” said Timothy Hubbard, assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, in an email. “These changes take time, but can be accelerated by new leadership. It’s unfortunate that it will take 9 months to get a new chief executive officer.”

Airline executives have expressed their frustration with the company, and even seemingly minor incidents involving Boeing jets have attracted extra attention.

Fallout from the January 5 blowout has raised scrutiny of Boeing to its highest level since the two Boeing 737 Max jet crashes that killed 346 people, with the first occurring in 2018 in Indonesia and the second in 2019 in Ethiopia.

In a note Monday to employees, Calhoun, 67, called the Alaska Airlines accident “a watershed moment for Boeing.” that requires “a total commitment to safety and quality at every level of our company.”

The next CEO

The management shakeup culminates a rocky few months for the aircraft manufacturer, amid scrutiny after an Alaska Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in January after a door plug blew out minutes after departure. In February, a panel of aviation experts assembled by regulators found that Boeing had “a lack of awareness of safety-related metrics at all levels.” 

In a Monday interview with CNBC, Calhoun said that the next CEO needs to be an executive “who knows how to handle a big, long cycle business like ours.”

“Our next leader is going to develop and call out the next airplane for the Boeing Company,” he said. “It will be a $50 billion investment that will all happen on our next leaders’ watch.”

Additionally, Boeing on Monday also said that board chair Larry Kellner won’t stand for reelection at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. It added that it has elected former Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf to succeed Kellner as independent board chair.  

Mollenkopf will lead the board in picking Boeing’s next CEO, the company said.

Calhoun stepped into the CEO role at Boeing in January 2020, succeeding Dennis Muilenburg who was fired following the two deadly crashes of Boeing 737 aircraft. 

—With reporting by the Associated Press.



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