Boeing fires CEO Dennis Muilenburg amid 737 Max crisis and failed Starliner mission

On Monday, Boeing announced that it had fired its CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, effective immediately as it grapples with regaining trust of the public and regulators following two fatal deaths with its most popular plane, the 737 Max. 

Muilenberg had been given multiple changes to fix the Boeing 737 crisis, notably being taken off of the company’s board as chairman to focus on the crisis. Muilenberg had been with Boeing since he was an intern at the company. 

Chairman David Calhoun will become the manufacturer’s new CEO in January and Board member Lawrence Kellner will become Boeing’s non-executive chairman of the board.

After Boeing’s announcement of Muilenburg’s exit, the company’s stock rose 2.5% 

This week, Boeing also suffered a costly and embarrassing loss with its Starliner space capsule, which put itself on the wrong orbit, and had to land in New Mexico on Sunday. 

Boeing’s interim CEO Greg Smith sent the following letter to employees on Monday: 

Colleagues, This morning, Boeing announced leadership changes made by our Board of Directors:

Dave Calhoun, currently Chairman of the Board, will become Chief Executive Officer of Boeing on January 13, 2020.

Larry Kellner, currently a Board director, will become Chairman of the Board effective immediately.

Dennis Muilenburg has resigned from his positions as CEO and Board director effective immediately.

I will serve as interim CEO during the brief transition period as Dave Calhoun prepares to assume leadership of the company.

The Board determined that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company moving forward and that we will proceed with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communications with the FAA, other global regulators and our customers.

On a personal note, I want to extend my deep gratitude to Dennis for his deep and abiding commitment to Boeing as CEO over these past four years, and for his nearly 35 years of service to the company. Dennis gave his all to the company under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. I look forward to working closely with Dave Calhoun, whom I have known for a very long time.

Dave and I share a mutual respect for one another, and I know we will work well together as we chart a new direction for Boeing. This has obviously been a difficult time for our company, and our people have pulled together in extraordinary ways. Over the next few weeks as we transition to new leadership, I am committed to ensuring above all that we meet the needs of our stakeholders – especially our regulators, customers and employees – with transparency and humility.

I am confident in our new leadership and I believe in our team — we have a plan in place, and it is very important that all of us remain focused on the tasks at hand. While this has been an extremely difficult year for all of us at Boeing, I firmly believe we are taking the right steps to reinforce the best in our values and to put the Company on the right path for a strong future. While today brings important changes for our company, I am also reminded of the many things that will remain exactly the same.

We will continue to operate according to our purpose and values in service of our customers, business partners, regulators, and other stakeholders. I want to thank you for going above and beyond expectations during what has been an extremely challenging year. I hope you are able to enjoy some time with loved ones and friends during these holidays. I am so proud to work alongside you all as part of this great company.Greg


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