Boeing announced Monday morning that CEO Dennis Muilenberg had resigned under pressure from its board, finally making a leadership change months into a deepening crisis surrounding two fatal crashes of the 737 Max.
“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,” Boeing said in a statement.
Muilenberg’s forced resignation comes nine months after the second of two deadly crashes involving the 737 Max that combined to kill nearly 350 people. It sparked a worldwide grounding of the plane and questions about its safety – and Boeing’s accountability.
Boeing recently announced that it would halt production of the 737 Max, citing the unclear timeline for its return to the skies. U.S. airlines have pulled the jet from its schedule until as late as June 2020 – more than a year since the grounding began in March 2019.
Muilenberg is out immediately. Current board chair David Calhoun will take over as CEO and president as of Jan. 13.
His ouster was a long time coming, as things have gone from bad to worse at Boeing.
What was originally supposed to be a brief grounding of the 737 Max is now poised to last more than a year. It’s still unclear when it will return, but the crashes and push to get the 737 Max recertified have revealed troubling questions about the plane’s design, its safety review, and Boeing’s leadership as a whole. Airlines have lost hundreds of millions of dollars as they cut and reschedule flights to cope with the loss of the plane.
By the time Muilenberg’s departure was announced Monday, Boeing’s stock had dropped by nearly 25% since the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March.
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