Boeing Delays Mandatory Retirement For CEO Dave Calhoun

Today, Boeing announced it is adapting its mandatory retirement policy to allow current President and CEO Dave Calhoun to stay in the top job. Previously, CEOs had a mandatory retirement age of 65, but Boeing has decided to extend this to 70 to give Mr Calhoun another five years. The new rule will apply to all future individuals in the top job. However, one member of Boeing’s top team is stepping down early.

Boeing Delays Mandatory Retirement For CEO Dave Calhoun
Boeing has increased the mandatory retirement age for the CEO position from 65 to 70. Photo Boeing

In the announcement today, the Board of Directors confirmed that it had approved a change to the retirement policy, allowing Calhoun to stay in the top role until April 1st, 2028. Of course, he can choose to leave the role and step down before then if he wishes.

Dave Calhoun took over when then-President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg stepped down over the 737 MAX scandal. The announcement was made in December 2019, and Calhoun stepped into the top role in January 2020. Previously Calhoun was the company Chairman.

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A vote of confidence in Calhoun’s leadership during turbulent times

Despite having only been in the top position for a little over a year, Calhoun has had to handle a fair amount. He came in when the Boeing 737 MAX scandal was at its height and has overseen the MAX’s return to the skies.

He has also had to handle the growing complications caused by the ongoing compensation agreements with airlines and the global pandemic. His continuation in the role of President and CEO is a vote of confidence in how he has handled the last year.

Boeing Delays Mandatory Retirement For CEO Dave Calhoun
CEO David Calhoun and all future CEOs will be able to stay in the top role until the age of 70. For Calhoun, this means he could stay until 2028. Photo: Boeing

Boeing chairman Larry Kellner said,

Under Dave’s strong leadership, Boeing has effectively navigated one of the most challenging and complex periods in its long history. His dedication to renewing the company’s commitment to safety, quality and transparency has been critical in building regulator and customer confidence as Boeing returns the 737 MAX to service.

“And, in the face of unprecedented challenges brought on by the global pandemic, […] the Board has determined that it is in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders to allow the Board and Dave the flexibility for him to continue in his role beyond the company’s standard retirement age.”

It makes sense for Boeing’s top team to remain as stable as possible right now; the pandemic is far from over. Calhoun’s hand on the helm is a steady guide for at least the next few years until public confidence in the manufacturer returns. But not everyone is staying; another key member of the company is stepping down.

Early retirement for CFO Gregory Smith

Executive Vice President, Enterprise Operations, and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Gregory D. Smith has confirmed he will retire on July 9th of this year. Boeing has not named a replacement and has said it is searching for his successor. According to his bio on the Boeing website, Smith is just 54 years old, so he is taking retirement a little early.

Boeing Delays Mandatory Retirement For CEO Dave Calhoun
CFO Greg Smith is stepping down. He has been with the company for 30 years and spent 10 in the CFO role. Photo: Boeing

Having been in charge of finances for Boeing for the last decade, early retirement is undoubtedly well deserved. Interestingly, Boeing announced the 737 MAX program the same year Smith took over as CFO, so he has seen the program from the beginning, through the last few challenging years, and now, as he steps down, the aircraft is back in the sky.

What do you think of Boeing’s announcement today? Are you surprised they have asked Calhoun to stay on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.