Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun Resigns Amidst Safety Concerns and Leadership Shakeup

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun announced his intention to step down from his position by the end of the year, marking a significant shift in the company’s leadership. Along with Calhoun, Boeing’s chairman Larry Kellner and the head of the commercial airplane unit, Stan Deal, are also departing. Kellner will not stand for re-election as a board director, and former Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf has been elected to succeed him. Stephanie Pope, Boeing’s chief operating officer since January, will replace Deal effective immediately.

Boeing has faced a series of challenges over the past five years, including two fatal crashes of the 737 Max in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people, and a recent incident involving a door plug that blew out of the side of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max. These issues have resulted in multiple groundings for safety concerns and over $31 billion in cumulative losses.

Calhoun referred to the Alaska Airlines incident as a “watershed moment for Boeing,” and emphasized the company’s commitment to addressing its problems and regaining stability. He insisted that his decision to leave was entirely his own, despite criticism of Boeing’s management and safety record during his tenure.

Calhoun’s departure comes amid dissatisfaction from major airlines, many of which rely on Boeing for their fleets. Issues have been raised about the quality of Boeing’s planes and delays in delivery. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, for instance, mentioned that his airline spends significant time checking new Boeing jets for errors or omissions. United Airlines, which uses Boeing jets for more than 80% of its mainline fleet, has also expressed disappointment in Boeing’s quality and delivery delays.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given Boeing 90 days to address its safety and quality issues following an audit that revealed numerous “non-compliance issues.” The company is also under investigation by the Justice Department, which could potentially result in criminal liability.

Calhoun, who became Boeing’s CEO in January 2020, has overseen a challenging period for the company, marked by the grounding of the 737 Max due to design flaws and the impact of the Covid pandemic on air travel. His departure signals a significant change for Boeing as it seeks to navigate its way through these ongoing issues and restore its reputation in the industry.


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