Boeing’s CEO Tells Congress He Won’t Resign

Boeing’s Chief Executive Officer, Dennis Muilenburg, weathered another stormy committee hearing yesterday, Wednesday, October 30, 2019, as politicians repeatedly took aim at his management of Boeing in the lead up to and aftermath of the 737 MAX crashes. But when responding to questions about his tenure at Boeing, Mr Muilenburg said he wasn’t planning on going anywhere.

“I don’t want to run away from challenges. My intent is to see this through.”

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Boeing’s boss had a tough day at the committee hearings in Washington yesterday. Photo: Boeing

Is stepping down the right thing to do?

Dennis Muilenburg and some of his senior executives at Boeing are being questioned at length this week in Washington. Yesterday, at the House transportation committee hearing, Mr Muilenburg faced withering criticism of his performance as the boss at Boeing. But Flight Global is reporting on Mr Muilenburg resisting calls for him to step down. Mr Muilenburg says he feels “a responsibility to lead the company through its 737 MAX troubles.”

Florida Congresswoman  Debbie Mucarsel-Powell wasn’t so sure. She said to Mr Muilenburg;

“Mr Muilenburg, if you had an ounce of credibility, you would recognise that what is the right thing to do is to step down.”

The expectation that Mr Muilenburg will either resign or be forced out of his CEO’s office in Seattle is not just coming from politicians. The Flight Global report cites industry observers saying they were expecting Mr Muilenburg to go sooner rather than later. It is noted that in addition to the lives lost in the two MAX crashes and the fallout for their family and friends, Boeing has suffered severe reputational and financial damage and is now exposed criminally and civilly on a raft of legal fronts.

Boeing 737 MAX
Muilenburg is reluctant to step down. Photo: Boeing

Congressman Steve Cohen (Ten) asked Mr Muilenburg during the course of the day;

“What does accountability mean – are you taking a cut in pay? Are you working for free from now on until you can cure this problem? These people’s relatives are not coming back, they’re gone. Your salary is still on.”

Negligent, incompetent, or corrupt?

Midway through  a torrid day for Mr Muilenburg, Congressman Jesus Garcia (Ill) attacked Mr Muilenburg, taking it down and dirty;

“Mr. Muilenburg, you did everything to drive profits over safety. You skirted certification requirements or regulators at every corner, and your employees even admit to lying to the FAA. There are basically two ways that this plays out. You either truly didn’t realize that you had a defective plane, which demonstrates gross incompetence and or negligence, or you did know you had a defective plane but still tried to push it to market. In which case, in which case it’s just clear corruption.

Either way, Mr. Muilenburg, you’re still the captain of this ship. A culture of negligence, incompetence or corruption starts at the top and it starts with you. You padded your personal finances by putting profits over safety and now 346 people, including 8 Americans, are dead on your watch… I think it’s time that you submitted your resignation, don’t you?”

Icelandair 737 MAX
Should the Boeing chief resign? Photo: Icelandair

Mr Muilenburg digs in his heels

Mr Muilenburg has made it clear he wants to take Boeing through the course of the 737 MAX crisis. On one level, that’s fair enough – he wants to see something important through to the end.

And whilst the florid language and wild accusations at the committee hearings in Washington this week make for great reading, the underlying question it raises is a fair one. Given that Mr Muilenburg was in charge when this whole disaster unfolded, is he really the right person to take Boeing forward?

Mr Muilenburg seems to think so. Although after the battering he is taking right now, even the toughest man in the world would be questioning that decision.

What do you think? Is Mr Muilenburg the right person to take Boeing forward? Post a comment.

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Ben Farrell

I think he should be allowed to oversee the 737 MAX getting fixed and back in the air, and the second its airborne again, that’s the second he gets replaced, having a change of command in the middle of such an event could be very disastrous too, and Muilenburg was there for the start of this mess, its only fair if he cleans it up too, but only on the condition that he leaves when the dust has settled

Lamsari S

There is no question he is the wrong person to fix the whole mess. The fixing has to start with changing the culture of irresponsibility and ignorance (in which quick profits stay above everything else) to one that emphasizes quality and safety. Not only Mr Muilenburg is the wrong person, he is a criminal and should be in prison right now. Boeing 737 Max must never fly again. Its design is flawed from the start.

K.P.

Sorry, Boeing isn’t government run like Airbus so it needs to make a profit and the 737 design is the most successful commercial plane in history

Lamsari S

It’s crystal clear that Boeing 737 MAX turns out to be the most disastrous airplane or design in the aviation history. I am an American and no fan of European industries. But let’s be honest, Airbus now makes much better and safer airplanes. Too many problems with 737, cracks, macs, etc. I guess you did not follow the news lately. Boeing is heading to abysmal with this greedy and incompetent man Dennis Muilenburg).

Sahil Gupta

I think he should remain( As CEO) as he knows what he did and how he could rectify his mistakes…though some things cannot be brought back but can be assured that it doesn’t happen to anywhere else in the world..!!!

Michael

He need’s to go. The seriousness of the problem and the potential consequences means his main motivation is protecting himself, rather than whats best for the company. If he goes now he’ll be the scape goat and it’ll go back to business as usual. The official line will be that Boeing is now OK, as he was responsible for all the issues. Its a systemic problem and an outside assessment/review needs to be carried out. But I doubt it will be as management aren’t going to commission it as it could/should put them all out of a job.

Kevin

That guy has no idea what is going on in the hangers, he’s a white shirt. These things are due to the fact that Boeing hires engineering degree students that don’t have their license because it saves them money. They hire mechanical engineers over aviation engineers because they can lowball their offer. And as a result of not understanding how every part of the plane works in conjunction with another, things are more prone to being overlooked. It’s a pretty easy mistake to make if you don’t have an experienced flight engineer sitting over your shoulder. I mean software engineers… Read more »

Michael

They also hire engineering degree students as they can be manipulated. They don’t have the industry/work experience and want to start a career. They less likely to speak up when there is a problem, and more easy to bully to do what their bosses want. Anyone who has been in the industry long enough has seen the same old tricks and promises. All they want is a yes man to do what they’re told, try make unrealistic time and budget KPI’s and most importantly be the one to take the blame when it inevitably fails.

tkefan29

He should absolutely resign.

In-Frequent Flyer

I agree he should be allowed to fix his mess. But once the plane is deemed safe by all regulators, he should resign.

K.P.

Love all the people who claim that Boeing flew a plane they knew would crash, get grounded and then pay BILLIONS in damages for a profit. Did things slide , yes, but knowingly , really, get real.