Leadership Shakeup at Boeing As 737 MAX Program Chief Departs

Boeing has replaced Ed Clark as the head of its troubled 737 MAX program, effective immediately, following the mid-air panel blowout of a new Alaska Airlines MAX 9. Clark had been with the planemaker for nearly 18 years and had vowed to bolster quality efforts. Katie Ringgold is replacing him as vice president and general manager of the 737 program, according to a memo sent to staff by Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal.


The memo also listed other management changes, including the creation of a senior vice president position for quality and safety. Boeing's production has been curbed by regulators and closely scrutinized by lawmakers and customers. Boeing's board met this week and approved the management changes, according to sources familiar with the matter. 

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Clark oversaw the production facility in Renton, Washington, where the plane involved in the accident was completed. He was named head of the program in 2021, the fifth person in four years to run it. Boeing said Elizabeth Lund was named to the new position of senior vice president for Boeing Commercial Airlines Quality leading quality control and quality assurance efforts. Mike Fleming will succeed her as senior vice president and general manager of airplane programs and continue leading Boeing's customer support team. 


The latest mishap is Boeing's second major crisis in recent years after crashes in 2018 and 2019 of MAX planes killed 346 people. That prompted a grounding of the 737 MAX for 20 months and Boeing was still working to rebuild its reputation. Airline industry executives have expressed frustration with Boeing's quality control. France's Airbus, the only other major manufacturer of commercial jets, last month reported record annual jet orders and confirmed an 11% rise in 2023 deliveries, maintaining the top manufacturing spot against Boeing for a fifth year. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun plans to meet with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Mike Whitaker next week after the U.S. aviation regulator traveled to Renton to tour the Boeing 737 plant.

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