Boeing Co has fired Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg after repeatedly failing to contain the fallout from a pair of fatal crashes that halted output of its best-selling jetliner and tarnished its reputation with airlines and regulators.
Boeing – beset by one setback after another following the two air disasters – dropped Muilenburg as it became increasingly clear that he was making little headway resolving a crisis that has cost it 9 billion dollars, hurt suppliers and airlines and now threatens to cut the pace of U.S. economic growth.
Chairman David Calhoun, a former General Electric executive who has been on the Boeing board since 2009, will take over as CEO and president, effective from January 13, Boeing said. Until then, Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will run the world’s largest plane maker.
“The board of directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence,” a Boeing statement said.
A Boeing official said the board had deliberated over the weekend and decided to oust Muilenburg in a phone call on Sunday.
Muilenburg could not be reached for comment.
Boeing shares, which have dropped more than 20 per cent over the past nine months, closed up 2.9 per cent.
The 737 MAX has been grounded since March after two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people within five months.
Boeing is struggling to mend relations with the U.S. and international regulators it needs to win over to get the jet back in the air.