Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to step down

Dave Calhoun, CEO of Boeing

© APA | Dave Calhoun, CEO of Boeing

# 25 March 2024 16:30 (UTC +04:00)

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun intends to leave the company by the end of the year, and the company’s chairman and head of the commercial airplane unit are also leaving, APA reports citing CNN.

The chairman, Larry Kellner, will not stand for re-election to the board. The board has elected board member Steve Mollenkopf to succeed him. Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, is retiring and Stephanie Pope, chief operating officer of that unit, is taking his place effective immediately.

Boeing has been buffeted by more than five years of problems with its airplanes, including two fatal crashes of the 737 Max in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people, and most recently a door plug that blew out of the side of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max in January, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the plane. The problems have led to multiple groundings for safety issues and more than $31 billion in cumulative losses.

In a letter to Boeing employees Monday, Calhoun called the Alaska Airlines incident “a watershed moment for Boeing.”

“The eyes of the world are on us,” he said in announcing his departure plans. “We are going to fix what isn’t working, and we are going to get our company back on the track towards recovery and stability.”

The decision to leave was “100%” his choice, Calhoun said in an interview on CNBC Monday morning. But it comes in the face of widespread criticism of the company by CEOs of many of the world’s major airlines Boeing depends upon to buy its planes. CEOs of numerous airlines had asked to speak directly to the Boeing board last week, which Calhoun tried to characterize Monday as a normal process, even if it’s rare for customers to speak directly to directors.

As to why Calhoun decided to stay on through the end of the year rather than leave immediately, he told CNBC: “We have another mountain to climb. Let’s not avoid what happened with Alaska Air. Let’s not avoid the call for action. Let’s not avoid the changes that we need to make in our factories.”

“We will get through that,” he said. “I’ve committed myself to the board to do exactly that.”

Calhoun, 66, a longtime board member at Boeing, became chairman of the company in late 2019, when the board stripped his predecessor Dennis Muilenburg of that title. He was tapped as CEO after Muilenburg was ousted in December of that year, starting in the job in January 2020.

Calhoun’s tenure began about halfway through a 20-month grounding of the 737 Max due to a design flaw that was determined to have caused the two crashes; and just before the Covid pandemic broke out globally, causing a near halt in air travel and massive losses for the airlines Boeing depends upon to buy its planes.

Shares of Boeing, which have lost more than 27% of their value since the start of the year, jumped 4% in premarket trading on the news.