Boeing can’t find new CEO – WSJ

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The current chief will resign by the end of the year, following multiple revelations of questionable safety standards at the firm

Several high-profile candidates have turned down offers to run aerospace giant, Boeing, The Wall Street Journal has reported, as the plane-maker faces scrutiny over multiple safety issues with its products.

The aerospace giant announced in March that current chief executive, David Calhoun, would step down by the end of the year, as part of a management shake-up aimed at reviving Boeing’s reputation. 

The company’s airliners have encountered a litany of incidents this year, beginning with a door panel on a 737 MAX 9 operated by Alaska Airlines blowing off mid-air in January, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the plane. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched several inquiries into Boeing. Whistle-blowers have alleged that the 737 Max, the 787 Dreamliner, and the 777 had serious production issues. As part of one probe, CEO Calhoun was grilled by US senators on Tuesday over the company’s patchy safety record.

GE Aerospace CEO Larry Culp, widely considered the top candidate for the job, has declined Boeing’s request to consider taking over, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the publication, Culp is known as a guru of lean manufacturing, a management philosophy focused on cutting waste while continuously improving quality. Culp has said that he intends to stay on at GE Aerospace.

Other potential candidates – the CEO of Boeing’s commercial-airplanes division Stephanie Pope, and Spirit AeroSystems CEO Pat Shanahan – face various complications on their path to the top job, the WSJ wrote. David Gitlin, CEO of the home-appliances firm Carrier and a member of the Boeing board, asked to be removed from the list of potential contenders in April.

Boeing executives have said they hope to have a deal by the end of June, the WSJ noted.

The US Department of Justice said in May it was considering prosecuting Boeing over two crashes in 2018 and 2019 which killed nearly 350 people. The accidents were found to have been caused by an errant pitch control system that the company had not informed pilots about.

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