Dennis Muilenburg was ousted as chief executive officer of Boeing Co., a once-unthinkable turning point for a U.S. industrial champion engulfed in turmoil after two deadly crashes of its top-selling 737 Max jetliner.
David Calhoun, a General Electric Co. veteran who had served as chairman since October, will replace Muilenburg as CEO and president Jan. 13, Boeing said in a statement Monday. The move followed a rare public rebuke Dec. 12 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Just last week, Boeing said it would temporarily halt output of the Max, which has been grounded since March.
Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during a brief transition period, Boeing said. Director Larry Kellner will replace Calhoun as chairman.
Boeing is trying to regain its footing amid the Max grounding, one of the worst crises of the modern jet era. The planemaker’s reputation and finances have been battered after the Max disasters killed 346 people and prompted the worldwide grounding. Boeing’s design decisions and cozy relationship with the FAA are being scrutinized by Congress while the Justice Department is conducting a criminal probe.
“A change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders,” Boeing’s board said in the statement.
Boeing climbed 3.3% to $338.74 at 9:44 a.m. in New York after advancing as much as 3.8% for the biggest intraday gain in six weeks.