Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun will step down by the end of the year, Boeing said Monday. In addition, Stan Deal, chief of the company’s commercial airplane division, will retire immediately, while board chair Larry Kellner will not run for reelection.

Steve Mollenkopf, former CEO of technology firm Qualcomm and a Boeing board member since 2020, will replace Kellner as chair and will direct the search for a new CEO.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free biweekly Aviation newsletter.

Stephanie Pope, a longtime Boeing executive who currently serves as Boeing’s chief operating officer, will replace Deal as the chief executive of the company’s commercial airplane branch. She was previously the CEO at Boeing’s Global Services division, and before that served as chief financial officer at Boeing Commercial.

The shakeup comes amid a mounting crisis surrounding Boeing’s quality control and manufacturing processes, stemming from a Jan. 5 incident in which a body panel burst off an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 during a flight a few minutes after it departed from Portland International Airport (PDX) in Oregon.

A “door plug,” which seals a gap in the body of certain MAX 9 jets, was missing bolts required to hold it in place, investigators found. An explosive decompression forced pilots to quickly return to Portland. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured in the episode.

Daily Newsletter

Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter

Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts

Boeing has since come under sharp criticism for the second time since two separate crashes involving the then-new 737 MAX, one in 2018 and one in 2019, killed a combined 346 people and led to a 20-month global grounding of the 737 MAX.

With Boeing under greater scrutiny, other episodes in recent months, ranging from significant in-flight issues to routine maintenance needs, have captured the spotlight and led to a broader public focus on airline safety. No one has been injured in any of the incidents.

The background: What to know about the Boeing 737 MAX 9 and the MAX series

Since the 2019 grounding began, Boeing has faced censure for what critics say is an eroded engineering and safety-based culture, which they accuse Boeing of having replaced with a financial and profit-driven basis of design and operation. Among other moves, the company moved its corporate headquarters away from its engineering and manufacturing base near Seattle, first to Chicago and later to the Washington, D.C., area. That criticism has reignited since the Alaska Airlines incident.

Analysts say that the negative direction traces back to a 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas, an aerospace firm that was notorious for cutting costs and corners to boost profit, often at the expense of quality.

Calls for a leadership change at Boeing in recent years and months have focused on rebuilding an engineering-first value system, which critics say will require rebuilding the culture at the firm from the top-down


Comments are closed.