Mar 6, 2020 - Economy & Business

New Boeing CEO criticizes predecessor, looks to future

David Calhoun. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Boeing's new CEO David Calhoun criticized his predecessor Dennis Muilenburg for failing to get the company back on track following two deadly 737 Max crashes, during an interview with The New York Times.

"I'll never be able to judge what motivated Dennis, whether it was a stock price that was going to continue to go up and up, or whether it was just beating the other guy to the next rate increase. If anybody ran over the rainbow for the pot of gold on stock, it would have been him."
— Boeing CEO David Calhoun

What Calhoun is saying:

  • Calhoun's third day as CEO included a meeting with President Trump. The Boeing chief told the Times that Trump said he liked Muilenburg but believed it was time for a change of leadership, and that Trump hopes Boeing is investing everything it has to get the grounded 737 Max in the air.
  • Calhoun said Muilenburg's optimism on getting the 737 Max flying again made the Federal Aviation Administration feel "like they were being pushed into a timeline...(the) regulator was never there alongside of us, but apparently our team didn't quite come to grips with that."
  • Calhoun said the 737 Max could be approved sometime this summer.

What's next for Boeing: Calhoun acknowledges that getting Boeing back to the top of its game will take years. He said he is focused on protecting engineers from business pressure, and he's not done restructuring the company's leadership, he told the Times.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Boeing's continued woes will add to coronavirus damage

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Somewhat forgotten in the evaluation of the current state of the U.S. economy is the ongoing debacle at Boeing, a flagship American company whose production shutdown led to the New York Fed estimating it would shave 20% off of 2020's GDP growth — and this was before the coronavirus outbreak. Things could be getting worse for Boeing.

Driving the news: A report is due this week from airline safety investigators to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that was the second in six months for Boeing's 737 MAX jets.

Ethiopian investigators find design flaws contributed to Boeing crash

Debris at the crash site of the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in March 2019. Photo: Michael Tewelde/AFP via Getty Images

Investigators in Ethiopia have found that Boeing 737 Max jet design flaws contributed to the Ethiopian Airlines crash in the country last year, according to an interim report released Monday.

Why it matters: The report was released as families prepared to mark the first anniversary of the crash, which killed all 157 people on board. This second fatal crash involving a Boeing 737 Max jet within six months prompted scores of countries, including the U.S., to ground the planes.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - World

Corporate America balks at potential strings attached in relief package

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uncle Sam today will become Corporate America's lender of last resort, but it's still unclear if it also will become its activist shareholder.

Driving the news: We're still awaiting full text of the bipartisan deal struck last night between the White House and Senate leaders, including if there will be any straight equity or warrants tied to financial help for affected industries and companies.