Skift Take

Calhoun is the second CEO to resign from Boeing over quality concerns and production delays.

Boeing announced a major shake-up of its senior leadership team.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said Monday morning he would step down from the top post at the end of the year. The company didn’t immediately name a successor for Calhoun.

“We are going to fix what isn’t working, and we are going to get our company back on the track towards recovery and stability,” Calhoun wrote in a message to employees Monday morning.

Stan Deal, the CEO of the company’s commercial airplanes division, is retiring. Chief operating officer Stephanie Pope will take over his role.

Board Chair Larry Kellner will not seek re-election, with Steve Mollenkopf, the former CEO of Qualcomm, taking on the post. Mollenkopf will be tasked with finding Calhoun’s successor.

The senior personnel changes are the latest boardroom casualties at Boeing, following an incident onboard an Alaska Airlines plane on January 5, when a door plug blew off mid-flight. The incident brought renewed scrutiny to Boeing, and the FAA grounded the 737 Max 9 for nearly one month.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the Alaska incident. A preliminary report the board released in February found that Boeing may have failed to properly reinstall the four bolts required to keep the door plug in tact.

Last month the company removed Ed Clark, the head of its 737 Max program after the Alaska incident.

Following Clark’s departure, Katie Ringgold, who had previously been vice president of 737 Max deliveries, took over his role. The company also created a new executive position for Elizabeth Lund, overseeing quality at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 

A Promise to Turn Things Around

Calhoun, who had been a long-time board member, became Boeing’s CEO in 2020, as the company was reeling from the fallout of two fatal crashes with the Max 8. His predecessor, Dennis Muilenburg, was ousted due to the the numerous issues with the 737 Max rollout.

During that time, Boeing drew the ire of lawmakers after an employee testified to Congress that the plane maker had ignored safety concerns when building the 737 Max.

Calhoun was tasked with leading the company through the Max 8 crisis and turn Boeing’s culture around. He is now the second chief executive to leave Boeing over quality and production issues.

“As we begin this period of transition, I want to assure you, we will remain squarely focused on completing the work we have done together to return our company to stability after the extraordinary challenges of the past five years, with safety and quality at the forefront of everything that we do,” Calhoun wrote.

In recent weeks, Calhoun had been under intense pressure — major airline CEOs and Washington had become increasingly critical of the company. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary slammed Boeing’s corporate culture and recent decision making in an interview with Skift last week. A group of airline CEOs also requested a meeting with Boeing’s board last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

O’Leary commented on the Boeing changes in a video released on X on Monday, where he was critical of Deal. Boeing’s issues with certification delays have forced carriers like Ryanair, United and Southwest to cut flights and slow hiring.

“Stan Deal has done a great sales job for Boeing for many years,” O’Leary said. “But he’s not the person to turn around the operation in Seattle and that’s where most of the problems have been in recent years.”


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Tags: 737 max, airplanes, Boeing, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, stan deal

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