australian aviation logo

Head of MAX program out as Boeing reshuffles 737 leadership

written by Jake Nelson | February 22, 2024

The hole left in the fuselage of Alaska Airlines’ 737 MAX 9, N704AL, after its door plug blew out in January 2024. (Image: NTSB)

The head of Boeing’s beleaguered 737 MAX program has been ousted as the planemaker looks to recover from the Alaska Airlines blowout incident last month.

Ed Clark, a Boeing veteran of almost 20 years, will be replaced effective immediately by vice president of 737 delivery operations Katie Ringgold as vice president and general manager of the 737 program, and also as head of Boeing’s Renton factory in Washington State.

“I am announcing several leadership changes as we continue driving BCA’s enhanced focus on ensuring that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements. Our customers demand, and deserve, nothing less,” said Stan Deal, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a memo to staff.

“Ed departs with my, and our, deepest gratitude for his many significant contributions over nearly 18 years of dedicated service to Boeing.”

The Seattle Times has reported that Clark, an engineer who has headed the MAX program at Boeing since 2021, did not depart voluntarily, according to “a person familiar with the decision” who did not wish to be identified.


Additionally, as part of the reshuffle, Elizabeth Lund, senior vice president and general manager of Airplane Programs for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, will be placed in charge of quality control in the new position of senior vice president for BCA Quality.

The move comes almost a month after the 737 MAX 9 was cleared to return to service following the blowout of a door plug on an Alaska Airlines MAX 9 over Portland in January. Announcing the decision last month, FAA administrator Mike Whitaker said the agency would not be granting any production expansion of the entire MAX family of aircraft, including the 9.

“The exhaustive, enhanced review our team completed after several weeks of information gathering gives me and the FAA confidence to proceed to the inspection and maintenance phase,” he said.

“However, let me be clear: this won’t be back to business as usual for Boeing.

“We will not agree to any request from Boeing for an expansion in production or approve additional production lines for the 737 MAX until we are satisfied that the quality control issues uncovered during this process are resolved.”

No Australian carriers currently operate the MAX 9. Virgin Australia and Bonza, though, both operate the shorter MAX 8 variant, with several MAX 10s on order for Virgin.

None of the MAX 8s are affected by the incident, as the model lacks the emergency exit sealed by the door plug.

It’s the latest issue to damage Boeing’s reputation over the MAX-branded aircraft after two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia killed 346 people.

It resulted in the US Department of Justice fining Boeing US$2.5 billion and accusing the planemaker of “fraudulent and deceptive conduct”, “concealing material information” and “engaging in an effort to cover up their deception”.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

Leave a Comment

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.