• Editorial
  • For Boeing's new CEO, fixing the 737 Max may be the easy part

    As the world now knows, Boeing's dysfunction extends well beyond the C-suite and the boardroom. It filters down to the company's very roots.

    Bloomberg

    79彩票注册网址David Calhoun

    79彩票注册网址

    Dennis Muilenburg's initial, bungled response to the Boeing 737 Max disasters starts to make a certain sort of strange and unsettling sense now that a new tranche of internal Boeing communications has come to light. Muilenburg, an engineer by training who started at Boeing as an intern in 1985 and rose to become CEO in 2015, is a product of the company's corporate culture—one where regulatory oversight is apparently regarded as a costly nuisance.

    Rep. Peter DeFazio, the Oregon Democrat who chairs the committee investigating Boeing and two crashes of the 737 Max that killed a total of 346 people, was right to call the just-released communications "incredibly damning." As he put it in a statement: "They paint a deeply disturbing picture of the lengths Boeing was apparently willing to go to in order to evade scrutiny from regulators, flight crews, and the flying public, even as its own employees were sounding alarms internally."

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    79彩票注册网址

    Boeing, which provided the documents under pressure from U.S. lawmakers, apologized and said it was committed to "full transparency" with the FAA. Now that Muilenburg has been handed his walking papers, new CEO David Calhoun79彩票注册网址 has his work cut out for him. As the world now knows, Boeing's dysfunction extends well beyond the C-suite and the boardroom. It filters down to the company's very roots.

    The latest batch of messages reveal that some employees harbored deep misgivings about the 737 Max, a supposed upgrade to the workhorse 737 line that included new software that would later be implicated in both crashes. A sampling of just a few standout comments:

    79彩票注册网址"This airplane is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys."

    "I'll be shocked if the FAA passes this turd."

    79彩票注册网址"This is a joke. This airplane is ridiculous."

    The emails and memos also contain conversations about problems in flight simulators used to train pilots on the new model and hint at pressure on employees to avoid additional training and regulatory oversight for fear of slowing the production schedule or creating undue cost overruns. There are glimpses of lower-level employees venting about an atmosphere where managers value cost-cutting and production schedules over quality and safety.

    "I don't know how to fix these things," wrote one staffer in June 2018, just months before the first 737 Max crashed. "It's systematic. It's culture. It's the fact that we have a senior leadership team that understand very little about the business and yet are driving us to certain objectives. Its (sic) lots of individual groups that aren't working closely and being accountable. It exemplifies the 'lazy B' "—the nickname the person used for Boeing.

    79彩票注册网址With revenue of $101 billion, a market cap north of $186 billion, Boeing is the nation's largest manufacturing exporter and one of the top nongovernment employers in the U.S. Every American has a stake in seeing the Chicago-based company's new CEO turn this disastrous situation around. He must start with a thorough house-cleaning, one that can and should include a tough-minded review of an overly passive board of directors that lacked the broad range of expertise that would have made them sensitive to the company's egregious management problems and more willing to take decisive action to fix them.

    In the end, Calhoun may find it easier to fix the 737 Max than it will be to fix the company.

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