Boeing’s Board of Directors has stripped Dennis Muilenburg of his chairman role amid the aircraft manufacturer’s ongoing efforts to return the troubled 737 MAX to service.
On Friday, the company announced that Muilenburg will continue in his roles as CEO, president and a director. However, the board elected David Calhoun, current independent lead director, to take over as non-executive chairman.
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Boeing said that the motivation in separating the roles is to “strengthen the company’s governance and safety management processes” while providing Muilenburg more time to focus on running the company as it navigates the various challenges of returning the 737 MAX safely to service.
“The board has full confidence in Dennis as CEO and believes this division of labor will enable maximum focus on running the business with the board playing an active oversight role,” Calhoun said in a statement accompanying Friday’s announcement. “The board also plans in the near term to name a new director with deep safety experience and expertise to serve on the board and its newly established Aerospace Safety Committee.”
“I am fully supportive of the board’s action. Our entire team is laser-focused on returning the 737 MAX safely to service and delivering on the full breadth of our company’s commitments,” Muilenburg said in a statement of his own.
Friday’s news came the same day that United Airlines extended 737 MAX flight cancellations into January, ensuring that the aircraft won’t return to service in the U.S. until 2020 at the earliest.
Boeing’s rough day also included a report from an independent group of international aviation safety experts slamming both it and the FAA for development flaws and lax oversight of the 737 MAX, respectively.
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