Boeing boss Dave Calhoun will leave at the end of this year amid a deepening crisis over the firm’s safety record.

Boeing also said that the head of its commercial airlines division will retire immediately while its chairman will not stand for re-election.

The firm is under pressure after an unused door blew out of a Boeing 737 Max in January shortly after take-off.

No-one was injured but the firm’s safety and quality control standards came under renewed scrutiny.

Mr Calhoun took on the chief executive role in early 2020 after the previous boss, Dennis Muilenburg, was ousted in the aftermath of one of the biggest scandals in Boeing’s history.

Within the space of five months, two brand new 737 Max planes had been lost in almost identical accidents that claimed the lives of 346 passengers and crew.

A board member at the time, after being made boss Mr Calhoun promised to strengthen Boeing’s “safety culture” and “rebuild trust”.

However, in January this year a disused emergency exit door blew off a new Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max shortly after take-off from Portland International Airport.

An initial report from the US National Transportation Safety Board concluded that four bolts meant to attach the door securely to the aircraft had not been fitted.

Boeing is facing a criminal investigation into the incident itself, as well as legal action from passengers aboard the plane.


Many analysts said a change in Boeing’s leadership was overdue.

“A shake-up at the top is necessary,” said Stewart Glickman, equity analyst at CFRA Research, adding that he believed the current crisis stemmed from problems in the firm’s corporate culture that only fresh insight would be able to fix.

“I don’t think you can change the culture with internal voices because I think this has been modus operandi for this company for too long.”

In a letter to staff on Monday, Mr Calhoun described the Alaska Airlines incident as a “watershed moment” for Boeing and said it had to respond with “humility and complete transparency”.

“The eyes of the world are on us, and I know that we will come through this moment a better company,” he said.

Air safety campaigner Ed Pierson, a former senior manager at Boeing’s 737 factory in Renton, Washington, said Mr. Calhoun had had years to try to boost safety at the company.

“It’s been one failure after the other,” said Mr. Pierson, who is now executive director at The Foundation for Aviation Safety.

“The company deserves much better leadership and the people who get on these airplanes deserve much better leadership.”

The blowout had tested Boeing’s relationships with its airline customers and regulators in Washington, reviving concerns that the company’s corporate culture had focused on speed of production ahead of safety.



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