Boeing axes commercial airplanes CEO in first management change since 737 MAX grounding

Oct 23, 2019

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Boeing has given Kevin McAllister the boot as CEO of its commercial aircraft business, promoting Stan Deal to the role from its global services segment.

Deal takes over as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes effective immediately, the Chicago-based airframer said in a statement Tuesday. He will be wading straight into the quagmire that is getting the Boeing 737 MAX re-certified,

“We’re committed to delivering on our commitments and regaining trust with our regulators, customers and other stakeholders”, said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing, in a statement. “Stan brings extensive operational experience at Commercial Airplanes and trusted relationships with our airline customers and industry partners”.

The ouster of McAllister is the first major change to Boeing’s executive ranks since the MAX was grounded in March. The airframer has faced challenges getting it back in the air, even after completing the development of a software fix for the troubled Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

Most recently, messages between two Boeing pilots sent two years before the grounding where they discussed issues with MCAS in a simulator came to light. The airframer has since said that the messages concerned the simulator software, and not the system installed on aircraft.

Boeing 737 MAXes stored at the Moses Lake, WA, airport on Oct 15, 2019, awaiting the end of the grounding (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)
Boeing 737 MAXes stored at the Moses Lake, WA, airport on Oct 15, 2019, awaiting the end of the grounding (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)

Boeing does not mention the 737 or MAX program once in its statement on the leadership changes at its commercial airplanes division.

Management changes were widely expected after reports that the Boeing board of directors met on Sunday, 20 October, ahead of the airframer’s quarterly earnings call Wednesday.

Airlines do not expect the MAX to return to service until early in the new year at earliest. American Airlines and United Airlines have both removed it from their schedules through January, and Air Canada and Southwest Airlines have removed it through February.

Ted Colbert replaces Deal as CEO of Boeing Global Services, while Vishwa Uddanwadiker replaces Colbert as interim chief information officer of Boeing.

McAllister joined Boeing to lead its commercial aircraft division in 2016. He was the first head of the commercial business with no prior experience at the airframer since the position was created in 1965. Prior to joining Boeing, McAllister was president and CEO of GE Aviation.

Deal took his previous role, as CEO of Boeing Global Services, at the same time McAllister took over the commercial business. At the time, Deal’s role was seen as a strategic statement by Boeing to expand its presence in the multi-billion dollar aircraft services business.

Featured image by Stephen Brashear / Getty Images

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