Dec 23, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 453 words, a 2 minute read.

🚨 Stock markets closed at record highs: "Shares of Boeing led the gains." [CNBC.]

1 big thing: The fall of one Teflon CEO

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images & David Ryder/Getty Images

Teflon no more: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg resigned today as the company continues to reel from the 737 MAX 8 crisis.

Why it matters: The crashes killed 346 and laid bare a culture in which safety concerns were discounted — and federal regulators were treated as little more than malleable rubber stamps, Axios' Dan Primack writes.

  • Muilenburg was unable to get the 737 MAX fleet back in operation after it was grounded by regulators across the globe.
  • The pair of crashes — one in Indonesia and the other in Ethiopia — inspired a frenzy of coverage on what caused the planes to come down.
  • The company announced an indefinite production stoppage last week. At one point, that would have been unthinkable.

The big picture: "Boeing stock has fallen by 20 percent during this crisis, costing the company more than $8 billion and affecting a supply chain that extends to 8,000 companies," the N.Y. Times reports.

  • "Before the 737 Max can fly again, regulators must approve Boeing’s fix for an automated system known as MCAS that was found to have played a role in both crashes."
  • "The company still needs to provide the Federal Aviation Administration with all the documents needed to fully describe the software fix."

What's next: David Calhoun, who took over as chairman from Muilenburg in October, becomes the company's president and CEO.

  • It's unclear if those upset with Muilenburg's leadership will welcome Calhoun's installation, or would prefer a fresh start, Primack notes.

Go deeper: Boeing's Teflon CEO

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Dogs dressed in Santa costumes walk along Marylebone High Street in London.

2. What you missed
  1. Electric truck startup Rivian capped off a remarkable fundraising year by announcing its largest round yet on Monday — a $1.3 billion investment led by T. Rowe Price, Amazon, Ford and BlackRock. Go deeper.
  2. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter arguing that the White House produce documents ahead of the Senate's impeachment trial. Go deeper.
  3. Travelers with measles passed through five U.S. airports this month, ABC News reports, citing city health officials. Go deeper.
  4. DraftKings will go public via a reverse merger with a blank-check acquisition company called Diamond Eagle, with a sports betting tech platform called SBTech also being rolled in. Go deeper.
  5. Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan says those at the top of the Saudi government "continue to escape responsibility" for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Full statement.
3. 1 fun thing

Laura Dern in "Little Women." Photo: Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures via AP

Laura Dern really related to her newest role: Marmee, the mother of the March family in "Little Women," the AP reports.

  • Like the March sisters, Dern was raised mostly by women.
  • Filming the movie, and recording the audiobook, reminded her of her deep attachment to the fictional family, especially to Marmee.
  • “I got to walk in those shoes, and to figure how to do it with nobility,” she told the AP. “I found her available and messy and wise and funny, and a muse. I think we often make our heroes very angelic.”

Go deeper.