Boeing fires CEO after a year of fatalities

ADDIS ABABA – Boeing has fired CEO Dennis A. Muilenburg on Monday after two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max plane.

In March 2019, the aircraft was grounded worldwide after a fatal crash on Ethiopian Airlines killed all 157 aboard, five months after a crash on Lion Air killed all 189 passengers and crew.

“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,” the company said in a statement.

Muilenburg is out immediately. He will be replaced by Boeing Chairman David Calhoun on January 13, 2020.

The announcement comes after Boeing announced their decision to suspend the production of their deadly 737 Max airplanes indefinitely.

“Our first priority is safety, and we have set no timeframe for when the work will be completed,” the agency said in a statement. “We expect that Boeing will support that process by focusing on the quality and timeliness of data submittals for FAA review, as well as being transparent in its relationship with the FAA as safety regulator.”

But they said Boeing’s decision to replace him with a long-time board member raised questions about the planemaker’s commitment to change.

“While the resignation of Muilenburg is a step in the right direction, it is clear that the Boeing Company needs a revamp of its corporate governance,” said Paul Njoroge, who lost his wife, three children and mother-in-law when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in March.

Calhoun “is not the right person for the job”, he told the BBC.

Zipporah Kuria, whose father was also killed on the Ethiopian Airlines flight, said Muilenburg should have been replaced “a long time ago” but responsibility for the crashes is shared.

“I feel as though a lot more people should have resigned including the person who’s becoming CEO,” she told the BBC.

Image: Dennis A. Muilenburg, Boeing’s chief executive, faced withering criticism from Congress and crash victims’ families at a hearing in October.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times