Boeing’s new CEO has said that returning the company’s troubled 737 Max to service safely must be its “primary focus” in 2020.
In a January 13 email to all Boeing employees, published on Boeing’s website, David Calhoun said his company must also “foster an inclusive environment that embraces oversight and accountability and puts safety, quality and integrity above all else.”
The 62-year-old executive is set to receive a US$7 million bonus if he is able to get the Max safely flying again, The New York Times reports.
“This is a crucial time for Boeing,” Calhoun adds in the email. “We have work to do to uphold our values and to build on our strengths. I see greatness in this company, but I also see opportunities to be better. Much better.”
Greg Smith has been holding the position of interim CEO since the company fired Dennis Muilenburg from the position last month over his handling of the Max crisis.
“With deep industry experience and a proven track record of performance, Dave [Calhoun] is the right leader to navigate Boeing through this challenging time in our 104-year legacy,” said Lawrence W. Kellner, chairman of the Boeing Board of Directors. “We’re confident Dave will take Boeing forward with intense focus on our values, including safety, quality and integrity.”
Calhoun’s first day on the job starts just days after the company released damning internal messages to US congressional investigators and media including Business Traveller Asia-Pacific. In one of the communications, an employee said the plane was “designed by clowns”, according to the BBC.
Calhoun has served in various senior leadership roles within several large-scale enterprises including at the Blackstone Group, Nielsen Holdings and GE, Boeing said. During his 26-year tenure at GE, he led multiple business units including GE Transportation and GE Aircraft Engines. He has served on the Boeing board of directors since 2009 and served as chairman from October 11 to December 22, 2019.
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific reported earlier this month, via The New York Times, that Boeing had uncovered a new potential design flaw with its 737 Max that could lead to a crash if not addressed.
In other Boeing related news, the company has donated AU$1 million (around US$689 million) from its Boeing Charitable Trust for the recovery and relief efforts associated with the ongoing Australian bushfires. Several airlines around the world are also offering financial and other assistance.