Dave Calhoun, the CEO of Boeing, will Step Down as the Company Faces a Safety issue

The departure of Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun at the end of this year comes as the company faces mounting concerns regarding its safety record.

Additionally, Boeing announced the immediate retirement of the head of its commercial airlines division, along with the decision that its chairman will not seek re-election.

The company is facing scrutiny following an incident where an unutilized door was forcefully expelled from a Boeing 737 Max during take-off in January.

Although no injuries were reported, the company’s safety and quality control standards faced renewed scrutiny.

Mr. Calhoun assumed the position of chief executive in early 2020, following the departure of his predecessor, Dennis Muilenburg, amidst a significant scandal.

In a span of just five months, two 737 Max planes were tragically lost in nearly identical accidents, resulting in the devastating loss of 346 passengers and crew members.

Upon assuming leadership, Mr. Calhoun made a commitment to enhance Boeing’s focus on safety and restore confidence.

Nevertheless, in January of this year, an incident occurred where a disused emergency exit door was blown off a new Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max shortly after take-off from Portland International Airport.

According to an initial report from the US National Transportation Safety Board, it was found that four bolts, which were supposed to securely attach the door to the aircraft, were not properly fitted.

Boeing is currently under scrutiny for the incident, with a criminal investigation underway and legal action being taken by passengers on the plane.

On Monday, Mr. Calhoun expressed confidence that the company will emerge stronger from this challenging period, acknowledging the global attention on their actions.

In a letter to staff, he characterized the Alaska Airlines incident as a significant turning point for Boeing, emphasizing the need for the company to respond with sincerity and openness.

According to him, he initially accepted the position of chief executive due to the unique challenges the company was experiencing.

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Boeing has faced challenges in regaining trust from its airline customers and regulators in Washington.

In a recent announcement, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that during a comprehensive six-week audit of the 737 Max production process, both Boeing and its supplier Spirit Aerosystems were found to have not met manufacturing quality control requirements on multiple occasions.

Recent findings have emerged regarding Boeing’s safety culture, as highlighted by an expert panel. The panel discovered a concerning “disconnect” between senior management and regular staff, along with indications that employees were reluctant to report issues due to potential retaliation.

Following the two plane crashes in October 2018 and 2019, investigations revealed that the incidents were caused by faulty flight control software. Boeing faced accusations of intentionally hiding these details from regulators.

The company has reached a settlement of $2.5bn (£1.8bn) to resolve fraud charges and has acknowledged engaging in deceptive practices, although it has pleaded not guilty in subsequent court proceedings.

It later faced widespread allegations of prioritizing profits over the well-being of passengers.

Michael Stumo, whose daughter Samya Rose was killed in the 2019 Boeing 737 Max crash in Ethiopia, expressed the view that the change in leadership was long overdue and necessary.

“Now they have to scour the globe for the top chief executive who has a track record of delivering high-quality and safe production in intricate manufacturing,” he posted on social media.

In addition to Mr. Calhoun, Stan Deal will be stepping down from his position as head of Boeing’s commercial airlines division with immediate effect. Stephanie Pope, who has recently served as the Boeing’s chief operating officer, will be taking over his position.

Larry Kellner, the firm’s chair will also step down and be succeeded by Steve Mollenkopf, the former boss of Qualcomm who has been a board member at Boeing since 2020. He has been appointed to spearhead the search for a new chief executive.

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