With Boeing’s Integrity in Doubt, New CEO Vows to Rebuild Trust (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg News; published Jan. 12, 2020)
By Julie Johnsson
Given that he chaired Boeing’s board of directors for several years, and that as late as October he said former CEO Dennis Muilenburg “has done everything right,” it is going to be hard for Calhoun (pictured) to win enough credibility to be an effective CEO. (Boeing photo)
The opening gambits by Boeing Co.’s new boss show the risks he is willing to take to reset the deeply troubled planemaker.
Dave Calhoun, who officially took charge Monday, pushed to release humiliating internal messages last week even though they may darken public perception for years to come -- with Boeing’s own employees suggesting rot in a once-vaunted safety culture, and mocking designers and regulators on the ill-fated 737 Max. He also was heavily involved in the decision to drop Boeing’s long-held opposition to simulator training for Max pilots, said people close to the company.
Those steps are just the start as Calhoun settles into a 36th-floor suite at Boeing’s Chicago headquarters, entrusted with turning around a company that has been widely censured for its arrogance, failure to take responsibility after two crashes killed 346 people, and unrealistic estimates of when the Max would be cleared to fly again. The bungling cost former CEO Dennis Muilenburg his job, and the bad news is far from over: Boeing is expected to reveal one of the largest writedowns in its history this month along with fourth-quarter results.
“The company has a unique opportunity to get all the bad news on the table now,” said Jim Schrager, professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. “It’s time to get this right and make the turnaround.” (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg website.
Calhoun Begins Role as Boeing President and CEO; to focus on safety culture, improved transparency and rebuilding trust
(Source: Boeing Co.; issued Jan. 13, 2020)
CHICAGO --- David L. Calhoun today assumed the role of president and chief executive officer of The Boeing Company.
"With deep industry experience and a proven track record of performance, Dave is the right leader to navigate Boeing through this challenging time in our 104-year legacy," said Lawrence W. Kellner, chairman of the Boeing Board of Directors. "We're confident Dave will take Boeing forward with intense focus on our values, including safety, quality and integrity."
"We also want to thank Greg Smith for his leadership as interim CEO and are pleased Boeing will continue to benefit from his contributions as he returns to the role of Boeing chief financial officer and executive vice president of Enterprise Performance & Strategy," concluded Kellner.
Calhoun, 62, has served in various senior leadership roles within several large-scale enterprises including at the Blackstone Group, Nielsen Holdings and GE. During his 26-year tenure at GE, he led multiple business units including GE Transportation and GE Aircraft Engines where safety was paramount. He has served on the Boeing Board of Directors since 2009 and served as chairman from October 11 to December 22, 2019.
"I'm honored to lead the talented people of Boeing as we face our challenges. Working together, we will strengthen our safety culture, improve transparency and rebuild trust with our customers, regulators, suppliers and the flying public," said Calhoun. "With the strength of our team, I'm confident in the future of Boeing, including the 737 MAX."
Calhoun shared his top priorities for 2020 with all Boeing employees today. The email message can be viewed here.
Boeing is the world's largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.
President & CEO David Calhoun's Email to Employees
(Source: Boeing Co.; issued Jan. 13, 2020)
The following email was sent to all Boeing employees on Monday, Jan. 13.
My promise to you: Let's work together to change our company for the better.
It’s an honor to join this team and to help shape Boeing’s future with you.
This company has a tremendous legacy of aerospace achievement, thanks to your efforts and the contributions of generations before you. I honor that legacy, and I appreciate your tireless commitment. I also recognize the learnings – many of them painful – from the experiences of the last 18 months that you are bringing to the way we do business.
This is a crucial time for Boeing. We have work to do to uphold our values and to build on our strengths. I see greatness in this company, but I also see opportunities to be better. Much better. That includes engaging one another and our stakeholders with greater transparency, holding ourselves accountable to the highest standards of safety and quality, and incorporating outside-in perspective on what we do and how we do it.
In my first few days and weeks as president and CEO, I will be listening closely to you, our customers, our partners and our regulators to ensure we understand the expectations of our stakeholders and are on a path to meeting them. In doing so, we’ll become stronger as a company and as an industry.
To that end, I’ll count on your support on these initial priorities for 2020:
-- Return the 737 MAX to service safely: This must be our primary focus. This includes following the lead of our regulators and working with them to ensure they’re satisfied completely with the airplane and our work, so that we can continue to meet our customer commitments. We’ll get it done, and we’ll get it done right.
-- Rebuild trust: Many of our stakeholders are rightly disappointed in us, and it’s our job to repair these vital relationships. We’ll do so through a recommitment to transparency and by meeting and exceeding their expectations. We will listen, seek feedback, and respond — appropriately, urgently and respectfully.
-- Focus on our values: Every day we will commit to our shared values while further strengthening our culture. Your voice is important in this. We will foster an inclusive environment that embraces oversight and accountability and puts safety, quality and integrity above all else.
-- Operate with excellence: Operational Excellence is how we work together to deliver safe products and services to our customers, while continuously improving our quality metrics. This requires a focused approach and we will all need to find any opportunities for simplification to ensure we are dedicated to what matters most. All of us are accountable for it.
-- Maintain production health: We’ll keep taking steps to maintain our supply chain and workforce expertise so we’re ready to restart production and increase rate safely, smartly and with the highest standards of quality.
-- Invest in our future: Our markets are growing, customer demand is evolving, the competition is increasing and technology is advancing at a pace we’ve never seen before. Boeing must keep innovating to succeed. We’ll continue to invest in our global workforce and new processes and technologies that will help us become safer and more efficient as we define the future of aerospace. This work includes preparing for the first CST-100 Starliner crewed mission, first flights of the 777X and 737 MAX 10, further growth of our Global Services business and finalization of our Embraer partnership.
This is our path forward, and I’m excited to be part of it with you. My sleeves are rolled up. I know yours are, too.