David Calhoun, 62, is no stranger to crises nor to aviation. His more than two-decade career at General Electric included a stint at the company’s important aviation unit.
Boeing’s incoming CEO David Calhoun, a 10-year board member, is inheriting a company in crisis, as the nation’s top exporter navigates the fallout from two crashes of its bestselling 737 Max planes. Analysts painted a picture of Calhoun as a logical choice to right the ship.
Boeing ousted CEO Dennis Muilenburg, announcing Calhoun as his replacement on Monday, as the grounding of the 737 Max is set to drag well into 2020. The shakeup comes as comments made by top Boeing leaders, including Muilenburg, strained the manufacturer’s crucial relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration, which certifies the company’s planes as safe for the flying public.
Calhoun’s goals include becoming more transparent with its airline customers and regulators, according to a person close to Boeing’s board and Calhoun’s strategy. Boeing and top management have been sharply criticized by regulators, airline customers and some crew members for failing to provide sufficient information about the aircraft and the company’s process to get it back in the sky.
Calhoun, 62, is no stranger to crises nor to aviation. His more than two-decade career at General Electric included a stint at the company’s important aviation unit, a job he took months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks roiled the airline business.
He has sat on Boeing’s board for a decade, including as the 737 Max was under development, so he is familiar with the mistakes related to the troubled plane.
“He’s not new blood,” said Bank of America Merrill Lynch senior aerospace and defense analyst Ron Epstein. “He seems like a capable manager, but he was on the board when all the decisions were made.”