Boeing CEO Announces Resignation After Major Press Issues and Safety Crisis

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has announced his intention to step down as head of the major aerospace manufacturer following ongoing safety and security issues for the company.

Tough Times for Boeing

It’s been a rough few months for Boeing, one of America’s foremost aerospace manufacturers. And now, in the midst of growing concerns around aircraft safety and company security, Boeing’s CEO has announced his resignation.

The resignation is part of a company-wide shakeup in response to a safety crisis that has rocked the multinational corporation to its core.

Resignations Across the Board

Dave Calhoun and the company’s chair on the board of directors, Larry Kellner, have both decided to stand down as part of the company overhaul. The head of Boeing’s commercial planes, Stan Deal, has also been replaced.

Both Calhoun and Kellner’s resignations will take effect at the end of 2024, whereas Deal’s departure was effective immediately. 

“The eyes of the world are on us, and I know that we will come through this moment a better company,” Calhoun said in a public statement concerning his resignation.

Focusing on Stability

“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,” he continued. “With safety and quality at the forefront of everything that we do.”

It is a major step in an increasingly desperate bid to appease investors, regulators, and customers and save Boeing’s reputation after a cabin panel was blown off a Boeing 737 in the middle of a flight. 

Alaska Airlines Blowout

In January, an Alaska Airlines flight had to be grounded after a cabin panel on the side of the plane was blown off. This sparked panic on the plane and made worldwide headlines. The Boeing 737 Max 9 in question was a brand-new model, and after the emergency landing, 171 Max 9 aircraft were taken off the runway for weeks in response.

Regardless of the executive exodus, airline experts say that the company will need to reassure travelers that its aircraft are safe and secure if it wants to emerge from this recent crisis unscathed. 

“It’s a headline change. I’m not sure it makes a difference on the factory floor, and that’s really where the value or the damage is created,” said Robert W. Mann Jr., president of airline consulting company R.W. Mann and CO.

“They have to demonstrate they can produce quality before they can think about producing at higher rates,” Mann continued. “If this change contributes to that, wonderful; if it doesn’t, they are where they are, and they’re going to be there for a long time.” 

More Issues for Boeing

Big changes are needed, as these recent onboard safety concerns are not the only issues garnering negative attention for Boeing. In late February, the company was fined $51 million for violating the Arms Export Control Act.

The settlement occurred after several cases were reported of Boeing employees in China downloading sensitive company information concerning defense aircraft and air-to-ground missiles, amongst other company technology. The US State Department discovered that Boeing employees had violated the Arms Export Control Act 199 times between 2013 and 2017. 

The company stock has also taken a hit as questions around aircraft safety and company security continue to rise since the Alaska Airlines incident. 

Concerning Claims By NTSB

Price valuations have fallen by around 25% since the incident, which was made worse when the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) failed to fully disclose pertinent details during their investigation of the damaged aircraft.

For many, these recent issues have been a damning reminder of the fatal Boeing Max 8 crashes that occurred in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019.

Too Little, Too Late?

Attorney Justin Green, who has represented dozens of families affected by Ethiopian Flight 302, has said that the resignations were too little, too late for many. 

“The next CEO must know that his or her role will be to prioritize safety, not just profit,” Green said. “For too long, Boeing has been avoiding public accountability and these leadership changes open a window for the company to do so.”

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