Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg fired amid 737 Max crisis.
Chairman David Calhoun will take over as CEO and president, effective Jan. 13, the company said, adding that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company. The company’s shares rose nearly 4 per cent in early trading.
Boeing has fired its CEO Dennis Muilenburg following a year of intense scrutiny and industrial setbacks set off by twin fatal crashes of its 737 MAX jetliner. Chairman David Calhoun will serve as CEO and president, effective January 13, the company said Monday.
‘The Board of Directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders,’ the company said. The company announced a decision to suspend production of its best-selling 737 MAX model from January earlier this month. It is the plane maker’s biggest assembly-line halt in more than 20 years.
The departure comes as the world’s largest plane-maker struggles to win regulatory approvals for its grounded best-selling jetliner while trying to repair trust with passengers and airline customers. The 737 Max was banned from flying in March 2019 following two devastating overseas crashes that left 346 dead. The decision to suspend production was made by Boeing’s board after a two-day meeting in Chicago, just one week after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would not approve the plane’s return to service before 2020.
The company’s shares, which have fallen more than 20% since March, rose more than 2% to $335.24 in early trading.
The 737 MAX grounding was the biggest crisis of Muilenburg’s 34-year tenure at Boeing, where he started as an intern in 1985, rising through the company’s defense and services ranks to the top job in 2015. Speculation that Muilenburg would be fired had been circulating in the industry for months, intensifying in October when the board stripped him of his chairman title.
Board member Lawrence Kellner will become non-executive chairman of the board effective immediately, the company said. Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during the brief transition period. United Airlines has previously said it would pull the Boeing 737 Max from its flight schedule until June.