Boeing CEO to Step Down in Broader Management Shakeup After Blowout of a Panel on a 737 Max 

A Medford Jet Center worker walks under a United Boeing 737-824 that landed at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport from San Francisco with a missing panel Friday, March 15, 2024, in Medford, Ore. (Andy Atkinson/Rogue Valley Times via AP)

(AP) — Boeing CEO David Calhoun will step down from the embattled plane maker at the end of the year as part of a broader management shakeup after a series of mishaps at one of America’s most storied manufacturers.

Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing’s commercial airplanes unit, will retire immediately, and Stephanie Pope, the company’s chief operating officer, will lead the division.

The company said board Chairman Lawrence Kellner does not plan to stand for re-election in May.

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 seemingly 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.

Calhoun indicated that the decision to leave was his.

The company said its board has picked former Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf to become the new chairman and lead the search for Calhoun’s replacement.

Calhoun was a Boeing director when he became CEO in January 2020, replacing Dennis Muilenburg, who was fired in the aftermath of the Max crashes.

Shares of The Boeing Co. were up 1% in morning trading.

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