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Boeing CEO regrets criticising predecessor in interview

written by Sandy Milne | March 9, 2020

Boeing Chief Executive David Calhoun has told colleagues he regrets criticising his predecessor in a newspaper interview, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“I am both embarrassed and regretful about the article,” read a note he apparently sent to senior executives. “I broke my promise to former CEO Dennis Muilenburg, the executive team and our people that I would have their back when it counted most. I want to reassure you that my promise remains intact.”

In a New York Times article published on 5 March, David Calhoun touched on a broad range of issues that have plagued the company.

“It’s more than I imagined it would be, honestly,” Mr Calhoun said, on the issues faced by the Chicago-based company. “And it speaks to the weakness of our leadership.”

Muilenburg was ousted in December after a number of embarrassing setbacks.

“I’ll never be able to judge what motivated Dennis, whether it was a stock price that was going to continue to go up and up, or whether it was just beating the other guy to the next rate increase,” Calhoun added, noting that Muilenburg’s high-risk strategies had long paid off for the company.


A spokesman for the company said that Calhoun sought to address challenges faced by the company candidly, but hadn’t looked to denigrate its management team.

According to this source, the published comments did not reflect a “full understanding of his views and the context they were given in”.

“Now is not the time to look behind us,” Calhoun said. “I regret doing it. Now is the time to look forward and build on our foundation.”

Boeing CEO regrets criticising predecessor in interview Comment

  • Brian McNicoll


    So what about his criticism and his blaming the pilots for the 737 Max crashes? Does he regret that too? I have an inherent distrust of those who shoot from the lip without first considering the implications of what they are saying. Junior Executive’s do that, NOT CEO’s

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