• Joe Breitfeller

High Hopes at Boeing as David Calhoun Takes the Reins as President and CEO

As we start the new year, Boeing hopes to turn the page on the most tumultuous period in the company’s history. On Monday, the company announced that David L. Calhoun will begin his new role as President & CEO with a focus on safety, transparency and trust.

Boeing Corporate Headquarters, Chicago - Courtesy Boeing

For the last 18 months, Boeing has struggled to turn the page on a series of mishaps related to the design, certification and airworthiness of the Boeing 737 MAX, following two deadly crashes that claimed the lives of 346 victims. Even small victories for the company, such as the launch test of the Starliner crew capsule, have failed to provide even a modicum of good news. As stories of huge customer settlements, employee distrust and a generous severance for former President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg abound, the company hopes to achieve a fresh start today with the elevation of David L. Calhoun as President and CEO. In Boeing’s announcement Monday, Boeing’s Board Chairman, Lawrence W. Kellner said,

“With deep industry experience and a proven track record of performance, Dave is the right leader to navigate Boeing through this challenging time in our 104-year legacy. We’re confident Dave will take Boeing forward with intense focus on our values, including safety, quality and integrity. We also want to thank Greg Smith for his leadership as Interim CEO and are pleased Boeing will continue to benefit from his contributions as he returns to the role of Boeing chief financial officer and executive vice president of Enterprise, Performance & Strategy.”

Boeing's President & CEO, David L. Calhoun - Courtesy Boeing

Mr. Calhoun (62) has held leadership positions at large enterprises such as the Blackstone Group, Nielsen Holdings and General Electric (GE). During his 26-year career at GE he led safety-focused divisions including GE Transportation and GE Aircraft Engines. Mr. Calhoun has been on Boeing’s Board of Directors since 2009 including a short time as Chairman between October 11th and December 22, 2019. Also commenting on the start of his new job as Boeing’s President & CEO Monday, David Calhoun added,

“I’m honored to lead the talented people of Boeing as we face our challenges. Working together, we will strengthen our safety culture, improve transparency and rebuild trust with our customers, regulators, suppliers and the flying public. With the strength of our team, I’m confident in the future of Boeing, including the 737 MAX.”

In a separate e-mail to Boeing employees, Mr. Calhoun shared the company’s top priorities for 2020. The main priority is to see the safe return of the Boeing 737 MAX to service to the satisfaction of all stakeholders including regulators and customers. Next, the company will be laser-focused on rebuilding trust with all stakeholders through transparency and by listening and responding to feedback to meet and exceed expectations. Boeing will also rededicate itself to focus on core values and operating excellence, while taking steps to maintain their supply chain during the 737 MAX production shutdown.

Finally, Boeing will remain committed to the future with ongoing initiatives such as the CST-Starliner’s first crewed mission, first flights of the 777X and 737 MAX 10, growth of their Global Services business and closing on their partnership with Embraer.

Source: Boeing