When two planes crash and nearly 350 people die, you’re probably going to lose your job. Boeing has been engulfed in controversy over the safety of its 737 Max airplane. Two crashes in 2018 and 2019 in Indonesia and Ethiopian especially have plunged the company into crisis. After the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, Boeing grounded its entire 737 Max fleet. It has been the target of criticism ever since. Now, its chief executive has been fired, with the chief financial officer taking over the position in the interim (via NYT):
Boeing on Monday fired its chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, whose handling of the company’s 737 Max crisis had angered lawmakers, airlines, regulators and victims’ families.
The company said Dave Calhoun, the chairman, would replace Mr. Muilenburg on Jan. 13. Until then, Boeing’s chief financial officer, Greg Smith, will serve as interim chief executive, the company said.
The Boeing board made the decision on a call on Sunday, after a string of disastrous announcements for the company, according to two people briefed on the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Mr. Muilenburg has stepped down effective immediately.
Boeing has been mired in the worst crisis in its 103-year history since the crashes of two 737 Max jets killed 346 people. The plane has been grounded since March, and Boeing has faced cascading delays as it tries to return the Max to the air.
In October, it was reported that Boeing had known about issues with its 737 line “for months” (via NBC News):
Boeing Co., the maker of the grounded 737 Max jet, knew for "some months" about messages between two employees in which one of them expressed serious concerns about the troubled craft, officials said.
But the company delayed handing over the communications to federal regulators investigating the key flight-control system on its jet following two deadly crashes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The communication was an instant message chat between two employees in 2016, according to a copy obtained by NBC News.
Mark Forkner, the Max's chief technical pilot, told a colleague there were problems with the jet and that, "I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly)."
The conversation came before two fatal crashes in 2018-19, that killed more than 300 people.