Boeing has ousted Kevin McAllister, its CEO of the Commercial Airplanes division, as the crisis involving the company’s 737 MAX continues to cloud Boeing’s future.
McAllister had been head of the division for threes years, before being fired by Boeing and replaced by Stan Deal as president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes; Ted Colbert is to succeed Deal as president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, effective immediately. Vishwa Uddanwadiker is appointed to Colbert's former role, as interim chief information officer and senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics.
Boeing, in a statement released on 22nd October, was at pains to make it clear that the company was focused on safety; CEO Dennis Muilenburg said:
“Our entire Boeing team is focused on operational excellence, aligned with our values of safety, quality and integrity, and we’re committed to delivering on our commitments and regaining trust with our regulators, customers and other stakeholders.
We’re grateful to Kevin for his dedicated and tireless service to Boeing, its customers and its communities during a challenging time, and for his commitment to support this transition.”
Earlier on 22nd October, Boeing had also issued a statement touting their safety credentials and their efforts to get the 737 MAX back in the air. The company has been put on the back foot by recent revelations that it may have known, as long ago as 2016, about the problems with the MCAS system that have been implicated in the two crashes that killed 346 people. The company said that the text messages between pilots that recently came to light only highlighted problems with a simulator and not with the 737 MAX itself.
Boeing said that they have “made significant progress over the past several months in support of safely returning the 737 MAX to service as the company continues to work with the FAA and other global regulators on the process laid out for certifying the 737 MAX software and related training updates. The company has also made significant governance and operational changes to further sharpen its focus”.
On the MCAS, or Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation Software, Boeing added that three additional layers of protection will prevent accidents like those of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights “from ever happening again”. The company has said that they have conducted more than 800 test and production flights with the updated software, totalling more than 1,500 hours.