Dave Calhoun To Step Down As Boeing CEO, Stan Deal Retires

By Spyros Georgilidakis | March 25, 2024

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun is stepping down at the end of the year, and Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal is departing immediately.

Before this past weekend, something interesting seemed to be brewing around Boeing. Several airline bosses wanted to meet Boeing chairman of the board Larry Kellner – without Calhoun.

Dave Calhoun To Step Down As Boeing CEO, Stan Deal Retires
Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. Photo: Narendra Modi, CC BY 3.0

The penny dropped on Monday, with the news that Dave Calhoun will vacate his position at the end of the year. Over at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, CEO Stan Deal will retire with immediate effect, after a 38-year career at Boeing.

Promoting From Within?

His replacement will be Stephanie Pope. Since January this year, Pope has been Boeing’s Chief Operating Officer. Before that, she ran Boeing Global Services, having previously been Chief Financial Officer for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Stephanie Pope, who as of today is Boeing Commercial Planes CEO. Photo: Boeing

Boeing board chairman Larry Kellner (the one the airline bosses met without Calhoun) will not stand for re-election at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting. His replacement is Steve Mollenkopf.

Mollenkopf is a Boeing board member and was previously the CEO of Qualcomm. As Boeing’s press release keenly points out, he is an electrical engineer. Boeing has received a lot of criticism over the past few years, over the lack of engineering and manufacturing experience in its board.

Steve Mollenkopf is the new Boeing board chair. Photo: Boeing

So far, there have been no indications on who might replace Calhoun as Boeing CEO. Many analysts like Scott Hamilton at Leeham News have pointed out that Boeing’s board offers few options for people to replace Calhoun.

Replacing Calhoun at Boeing – Searching For An Outsider?

The name of Spirit AeroSystems CEO Patrick Shanahan has been offered as a possible candidate. Shanahan was previously a Boeing board member, before taking up a job in the U.S. Government.

Dave Calhoun To Step Down As Boeing CEO, Stan Deal Retires
Boeing’s HQ in Virginia. Photo: mr_t_77, CC BY-SA 2.0

He took up the job at Spirit last September – after Spirit’s 737 production woes. However, a Spirit spokesperson poured cold water on this rumor, saying that Shanahan is focused on “building a culture of safety” at Spirit AeroSystems.

An outsider, with engineering and aerospace management experience, would perhaps be the ideal next Boeing CEO. But finding such a person seems far from straightforward. But there is plenty of time between now and December.

Dave Calhoun To Step Down As Boeing CEO, Stan Deal Retires
Stan Deal, the departing Boeing Commercial Planes CEO. Photo: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem, CC BY 2.0

Various analysts and airline CEOs have commented that the change isn’t surprising. The markets seem to agree, with Boeing’s share price gaining 1.2% in value in the aftermath of the announcement. But it remains to be seen how this and other changes will help change Boeing’s culture and restore the public’s confidence in the company.


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