Boeing CEO Faces Daunting Questioning In Senate Hearing

By Spyros Georgilidakis | June 19, 2024

It was always going to be a tough Senate hearing for Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and sure enough, he faced many tough questions on Tuesday.

Just hours before Calhoun’s Senate hearing, newer whistleblower revelations about mishandling of non-conforming Boeing parts hit the news. In any case, the consensus was that there was little chance, if any, that the Boeing CEO would come away “victorious” from the hearing.

Boeing CEO Faces Daunting Questioning In Senate Hearing
Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. Photo: Narendra Modi, CC BY 3.0

Calhoun started the Senate hearing by standing up, turning around, and addressing family members of the 2018-19 Boeing 737 MAX crash victims, to apologize to them. He also acknowledged that the latest 737 MAX-9 door plug blowout resulted from a manufacturing defect, which he took responsibility for.

However, Calhoun’s opening admissions didn’t dampen the questions he had to answer. Senate member Josh Hawley asked the Boeing CEO why he hasn’t resigned. Boeing has announced Calhoun’s departure and the search for a new CEO, but the change will happen in December.

Boeing CEO Faces Daunting Questioning In Senate Hearing
Photo: NTSB

After the Senate Hearing – DoJ Goes After Boeing?

The Senator highlighted Calhoun’s increasing pay, suggesting that this is his motivation for staying in charge, while “strip-mining” Boeing. Calhoun took home $23.8 million last year, up from $22.6 million the year before.

Image: Boeing

In response, the Boeing CEO told the Senate that he is proud of “every action we have taken” since the MAX-9 blowout. To address questions on recent whistleblower revelations and on other problems that Boeing itself revealed to regulators, Calhoun also had Boeing chief engineer Howard McKenzie at the Senate hearing.

Boeing’s next challenge will potentially involve the U.S. Department of Justice. As we have seen, the DoJ opined that the January MAX-9 blowout violated the terms of Boeing’s 2021 Deferred Prosecution Agreement, relating to the two MAX-8 crashes. Boeing has denied this.

The door plug. Photo: NTSB

The Department of Justice has until the 7th of July to go ahead with a prosecution or request a deadline extension from a federal judge. Prosecuting individuals is unlikely, but Boeing could face much higher monetary penalties.

In a related development, several families of the 737 MAX crash victims called for the U.S. Department of Justice to charge Boeing with as much as $24.78 billion, since “Boeing’s crime is the deadliest corporate crime in U.S. history”.


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