Boeing announced Monday it is replacing CEO Dennis Muilenburg as the embattled aerospace company attempts to navigate correcting technical problems with its 737 Max airliner. The company is dealing with significant blowback and is trying to regain public trust after a pair of recent crashes killed 346 people and prompted the grounding of the popular line of aircraft. The company framed Muilenburg’s dismissal as a step in repairing the company’s relationship with not just consumers, but regulators as well, as the FAA has ratcheted up its oversight of the company’s efforts to get the 737 Max back in the air.
“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 Monday. “Under the Company’s new leadership, Boeing will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA, other global regulators and its customers.”
Boeing announced last week it would temporarily halt production of the 737 Max in January after months of continuing to make the aircraft without delivering it to customers because the line had yet to be signed off on by regulators. The company was losing more than a billion a month and regulators indicated it was not close to having the 737 Max certified to fly again. The company’s signature airliner was grounded following a second crash in Ethiopia in Oct. 2018. The aircraft’s software system was at fault, but Boeing has failed to come up with a fix that will satisfy federal regulators. That has left the company staggering with potential shockwaves rippling across the U.S. economy: Boeing is the largest American manufacturing exporter and employs 12,000 people in its Washington state plant where the 737 Max is manufactured.
The company’s CFO will run the company on an interim basis until company chairman David Calhoun takes over as CEO on Jan.13, 2020.