Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun did not have a background in engineering nor much experience as an aerospace executive before taking the helm.

Emirates president Tim Clark said the only “fix” to Boeing’s problems is to let an engineer lead the firm.Experts say Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, who announced plans to resign on Monday, had a background in finance and business.Calhoun’s predecessor, Dennis Muilenburg, was an engineer but was also fired after a Max crisis.

Emirates president Tim Clark spoke up about the future of Boeing’s leadership on Wednesday, saying the only way to clean up this mess is to put engineers at the helm.

“To fix Boeing’s issues the company needs a strong engineering lead as its head coupled to a governance model which prioritizes safety and quality,” he told CNBC.

He noted that the International Association of Machinists, a labor union representing some 32,000 Boeing employees, “wants a seat on the board.” Clark said this would allow those on the factory floor to be “part and parcel of the decision process” and “fully integrated into the governance model’s risk management strategies.”

Clark’s comments come after Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun announced his resignation from the planemaker on Monday, effective year-end.

Boeing chair, Larry Kellner, will not run for reelection, and Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal will also be stepping down, the company said. Thirty-year company veteran Stephanie Pope has replaced Deal as the company’s first female head.

Some experts say ‘an outsider is critical’

As Boeing looks for a new CEO, some experts have commented similarly, suggesting the planemaker should hire an engineer as its next CEO.

“I think the next Boeing CEO needs to have a very strong background in aeronautical engineering, aircraft design, and manufacturing,” travel analyst Henry Harteveldt told Business Insider. “It’s not just enough to bring in someone who understands corporate finance or business strategy.”

Founder and managing member of the investment firm Capital Cruisers, Keith Rosenbloom, told Forbes that Boeing may want to search for its next CEO beyond its walls.

“This is an important first step,” he said. “But make no mistake, this is going to be a process that must take solid execution to find a rockstar CEO. I would think that an outsider is critical.”

Stephanie Pope was the COO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes before being appointed CEO on Monday.

Boeing declined to comment for this story. Muilenburg could not be reached.

The departures are the fallout of yet another Max-related crisis at Boeing after an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 lost its door plug midair in January, prompting an intense investigation into the company’s safety culture and quality control.

Experts told CNBC that part of the downfall of Boeing was keeping engineers out of top positions and pointed to Deal as the only person among Boeing’s senior management with an engineering background.

Aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia told Business Insider that much of Calhoun’s background is in business and private equity, with little experience as an aerospace executive.

He said a management shake-up could make a “huge difference” if the incoming CEO has a technical background in engineering and can make independent decisions.

Boeing did have a CEO with an engineering background before Calhoun was appointed. However, he was fired after a separate Max-related crisis in which two crashes of a different variant, the Max 8, killed a combined 346 people.

The accidents were the first in the string of Max-related debacles at Boeing that eventually saw Calhoun out the door, too.

Boeing’s former CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, stepped down after two 737 Max 8 crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people in total.

“Whether, yet again, this changing of the guard will resolve Boeing’s issues, only time will tell, but time, unfortunately, is not on their side,” Clark told CNBC. “I would suggest that some serious lateral thinking kicks in as soon as possible.”

Read the original article on Business Insider


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