Springfield News-Sun

Boeing CEO Calhoun, board chair to exit in leadership shakeup

- By David Koenig

Boeing CEO David Calhoun will step down from the embattled plane maker at the end of the year as part of a broad management shakeup after a series of mishaps at one of America’s iconic manufactur­ers.

Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing’s commercial airplanes unit, will retire immediatel­y. Stephanie Pope, the company’s chief operating officer for less than three months, has taken over leadership of the key division.

The company said board Chairman Lawrence Kellner, a former airline chief, won’t stand for reelection in May and will be replaced by a former Qualcomm CEO.

Boeing has been under intense pressure since early January, when a panel blew off a brand-new Alaska Airlines 737 Max. Investigat­ors say bolts that help keep the panel in place were missing after repair work at the Boeing factory.

The Federal Aviation Administra­tion has stepped up its scrutiny of the company, including putting a limit on production of 737s. An FAA audit of Boeing’s 737 factory near Seattle gave the company failing grades on nearly three dozen aspects of production.

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

Fallout from the Jan. 5 blowout has raised scrutiny of Boeing to its highest level since two Boeing 737 Max jets crashed in 2018 in Indonesia and 2019 in Ethiopia. In all, the crashes killed 346 people.

In a note Monday to

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

“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,” he said.

Boeing’s most significan­t effort to improve quality has the opening of discussion­s about bringing Spirit Aerosystem­s, which builds fuselages for the Max and many parts for that and other Boeing planes, back into the company. Mistakes made at Spirit, which Boeing spun off nearly 20 years ago, have compounded the company’s problems.

Calhoun said the two companies are making progress in talks “and it’s very important.”

Calhoun said the decision to leave was his. He was a Boeing director when he became CEO in January 2020, replacing Dennis Muilenburg, who was fired in the aftermath of the Max crashes. In 2021, Boeing’s board raised the mandatory retirement age for CEO to keep Calhoun in the job.

 ?? VALERIE PLESCH / NYT ?? Boeing CEO David Calhoun speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Jan. 24. He will step down at the end of 2024.
VALERIE PLESCH / NYT Boeing CEO David Calhoun speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Jan. 24. He will step down at the end of 2024.

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