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Boeing CEO and chairman to go by year’s end as MAX crisis continues

written by Jake Nelson | March 26, 2024

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun (left) and chairman Larry Kellner (right) will retire before the end of the year. (Image: Boeing)

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and chairman Larry Kellner will both leave the planemaker by the end of the year amid a broader leadership reshuffle.

The senior management reshuffle also includes the immediate resignation of Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, to be replaced by Boeing chief operating officer Stephanie Pope. It comes amid ongoing turmoil for Boeing over the safety record of its 737 MAX family.

In a letter to Boeing staff, Calhoun, who has been CEO of Boeing since 2020, said he had been considering the right time for a CEO transition “for some time” in conjunction with the board of directors.

“I want to share with you that I have decided this will be my last year as CEO of our great company, and I have notified the board of that decision,” Calhoun said.

“I originally agreed to take on the role of CEO of Boeing at the board’s request, stepping down as board chair in the process, because of the unprecedented circumstances the company was facing at that time.


“It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve in both roles and I will only feel the journey has been properly completed when we finish the job that we need to do. 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.”

Calhoun said the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 accident in January, where an emergency exit door plug blew off a brand-new 737 MAX 9 over Portland, was a “watershed moment” for the company. Boeing is now facing a criminal investigation over the incident, which led to the sacking of the head of its 737 program.

“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,” said Calhoun.

“The eyes of the world are on us, and I know we will come through this moment a better company, building on all the learnings we accumulated as we worked together to rebuild Boeing over the last number of years.”

Kellner will be replaced as chair of Boeing by Steve Mollenkopf, who will lead the search for Calhoun’s successor. In a statement, Kellner said that Calhoun’s departure marked the “right time” for his succession.

“Steve is the ideal next leader to take on the role of board chair, and it is important that the CEO selection process be led by a new chair who will stay at the helm as a partner to the new CEO.

“With a strong board, an excellent management team and 170,000 dedicated Boeing employees, I am fully confident in our company’s future,” he said.

In a statement on LinkedIn, Deal said his immediate retirement from Boeing Commercial Airplanes was the result of “carefully weighing the needs of [his] family and that of [his] company”.

“I know our Commercial Airplanes team will do well under the very capable leadership of Stephanie Pope. She is an outstanding leader, long-time colleague, and friend,” he said.

“She knows our business and I have full confidence that she will continue to lead the company forward and do what is best for the team.”

While Qantas has mainly chosen Airbus for its fleet renewal program, Virgin Australia has 10 737 MAX 8 aircraft still on order, along with 25 MAX 10s, which have been delayed by the ongoing troubles at Boeing. The airline now expects to receive only four more MAX 8s before the end of the year.

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Comments (2)

  • Over the years one expected that Boeing would be at the forefront of new and innovative aircraft development and they were, that is up to the time that someone thought up the “Max”. There is enough publicity, good and bad surrounding the Max and surely common sense would direct that this project be canned for good as truly it is just a derivation of an age old craft. Sure, keep the old faithful 800 series for internal domestic ops but look at an update of say the B767-300 NEO, bigger capacity, longer range far more flexible and very little expenditure involved in an update as opposed to a new airframe that hasn’t even been designed yet. Clearly someone at Boeing dropped the ball here most likely concentrating on the short term bottom line maths rather than engineering, commercial and operational excellence, it is not rocket science.

  • Boeing needs to concentrate more on delivering a safe reliable product, make certain all the nuts and bolts are correctly installed and tensioned, instead of pushing product out the door quickly in pursuit of immediate profit.

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