Breaking: Boeing CEO to Resign as 737 MAX Crisis Spurs Top Management Overhaul

Boeing has declared that David Calhoun, its President and CEO, will resign at the end of 2024. Additional executives will also retire or not pursue re-election.

Following the incident with Alaska Airlines flight AS1282, where a door plug from a Boeing 737 MAX 9 was ejected, Calhoun addressed Boeing employees, indicating the event as a critical turning point for the firm. This communication was made public by the company.

“We must continue to respond to this accident with humility and complete transparency. We also must inculcate a total commitment to safety and quality at every level of our company.”

Calhoun expressed confidence in Boeing’s ability to emerge from its current challenges improved and stated that the time is appropriate for a CEO transition at the company. Consequently, Calhoun will serve as CEO until the end of 2024. Calhoun’s communication did not clarify his continuation as President of Boeing. He succeeded Dennis Muilenburg in December 2019 amidst the company’s recovery efforts from the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Photo by Wirestock | iStock

Calhoun has indicated that Boeing’s board is ready for a transition that will bring numerous changes. Larry Kellner, Boeing’s Board Chairman, will not seek re-election at the next AGM in April 2024.

Steve Mollenkopf is expected to succeed Kellner and will lead the search for Boeing’s new CEO. Calhoun noted Kellner’s decision to step down after over four years as chairman and 13 years on the board, believing a new chair should appoint the next CEO. Additionally, Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, will retire and be succeeded by Stephanie Pope, who has served as COO of Boeing since January 2024.

In April 2021, Boeing amended the mandatory retirement age for its CEO from 65 to 70, enabling Calhoun, who was then 64, to extend his tenure. At 66, Calhoun had the potential to remain as Boeing’s CEO for an additional four years before reaching the mandatory retirement age.

Calhoun navigated Boeing through the aftermath of the 737 MAX crisis, following the FAA’s lead in lifting the grounding of the aircraft type in November 2020. However, his leadership has been challenged by various issues, including the recent incident involving an Alaska Airlines flight. This event led to increased scrutiny from the FAA and other stakeholders over Boeing’s quality control measures.

Photo by Alberto Hurtado

Boeing has also faced difficulties with certifying its 777X, 737 MAX 7, and MAX 10 aircraft. The incident with Alaska Airlines further complicated these efforts, leading Boeing to cancel its request for an exemption regarding the 737 MAX 7’s engine nacelle anti-ice system.

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