Boeing CEO Stripped of Chairman Title Amid 737 Max Troubles

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After a troubled year with two crashes of its new 737 Max 8 aircraft, Boeing’s board of directors has stripped CEO Dennis Muilenburg of his position as chairman.

Muilenburg will remain on as CEO of the company, focusing his efforts on returning the manufacturer’s beleaguered 737 Max 8 to safe service. The aircraft has been grounded since March.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the jet manufacturer said the decision was made so Muilenburg could “focus full-time on running the company as it works to return the 737 Max safely to service, ensure full support to Boeing’s customers around the world, and implement changes to sharpen Boeing’s focus on product and services safety.”

“I am fully supportive of the board’s action. Our entire team is laser-focused on returning the 737 Max safely to service and delivering on the full breadth of our company’s commitments,” Muilenburg said in the statement.

The board elected David L. Calhoun, current lead director of Boeing, to serve as a non-executive chairman. He previously served as vice chairman of General Electric.

In a statement, Calhoun said, “The board has full confidence in Dennis as CEO and believes this division of labor will enable maximum focus on running the business with the board playing an active oversight role.”

Earlier today, a panel of safety experts from Europe, Australia, Brazil and the United States submitted a joint report to the Federal Aviation Administration that found Boeing and the FAA shared responsibility for the failures that led to the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 earlier this year.

“We welcome this scrutiny and are confident that our openness to these efforts will further bolster aviation safety worldwide,” FAA administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. “The accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia are a somber reminder that the FAA and our international regulatory partners must strive to constantly strengthen aviation safety.”

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