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Boeing’s CEO Will Leave the Embattled Aircraft Maker by End of the Year

Boeing will soon have a new captain in charge of piloting the company forward.

The aircraft maker has announced that its current CEO, Dave Calhoun, will leave his role at the end of the year, The New York Times reported on Monday. Along with that shake-up, Boeing’s head of commercial planes, Stan Deal, is retiring immediately, and its chairman, Larry Kellner, will not stand for reelection.

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“The eyes of the world are on us, and I know we will come through this moment a better company, building on all the learnings we accumulated as we worked together to rebuild Boeing over the last number of years,” Calhoun said in a note to employees cited by the Times.

The leadership changes follow a difficult start to the year for Boeing. In January, a panel blew off one of its 737 Max 9 planes midair during an Alaska Airlines flight. Following the incident, safety concerns were raised regarding Boeing planes, and the Max 9 was grounded across the United States by the Federal Aviation Administration. While the planes were allowed to fly again starting in late January, the FAA put limits on how many Max planes Boeing can produce moving forward.

Calhoun hasn’t been at the head of the aircraft maker for very long. He was appointed in January 2020, after serving as a board member since 2009. The company seemed to have faith in him, with the board raising the mandatory retirement age in 2021 from 65 to 70 so that Calhoun could stay in control until April 2028. In an interview with CNBC, Calhoun called the shifts “very deliberate,” and said he would be involved in the succession process.

“Why now? I’ve entered my fifth year,” he said. “At the end of this year, I’ll be close to 68 years old. I’ve always said to the board—and the board has been very prepared—I would give them plenty of notice so that they could understand and plan succession.”

Stephanie Pope, Boeing’s COO, will take over as the head of commercial planes. She was promoted late last year to the COO role, with many seeing that as a sign that she would take over for Calhoun in a few years. Now, The New York Times noted, some analysts think that Boeing could bring in a CEO from outside the company, although the pool of candidates with the necessary experience is somewhat limited. New board members are expected to be elected at the company’s annual meeting in May.

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