Sunday, 13 October 2019

Boeing strip Dennis Muilenburg of chairmanship

Is there more trouble brewing at the US planemaker Boeing after the board stripped chief executive Dennis Muilenburg of his chairmanship title on Friday afternoon?  This unexpected move followed an announcement from a global panel of aviation experts that criticised the company most strongly over its 737 Max programme. 

Muilenburg is scheduled to testify before a US House panel at the end of the month and stripping him of the chairmanship is apparently to allow him to have “maximum focus” on steering the firm on a daily basis.  However,  six months or so ago, key shareholders wanted to split the chairmanship and CEO roles as the firm faces its biggest crisis in recent years.  However, according to a statement the board had “full confidence” in Muilenburg, which is not what some shareholders are saying privately. “This decision is the latest of several actions by the board of directors and Boeing senior leadership to strengthen the company’s governance and safety management processes,” the statement read.

Boeing is facing over 100 lawsuits regarding the two 737 Max crashes which were largely caused by design flaws that allowed incorrect sensor data to activate the anti-stall software. There are also a number of key investigations into the design and airworthiness certification process and leag charges have not been ruled out.

Aviation commentators in the US have also hinted that another government agency is about to launch an investigation into the firm,  this time regarding the excessive price hikes charged to the US military on a number of recent contracts and agreements.  

This is still no date for the 737 Max to be declared airworthy, with test flights being proposed, however, United Airlines and American Airlines are gambling with passenger safety and scheduling the type for a middle of January return to service.   

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