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Boeing executive fired amid continuing safety concerns, families of crash victims respond

written by Newsdesk | February 22, 2024
A Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX-8

The recent firing of Ed Clark, a seasoned executive at Boeing who was in charge of the 737 MAX passenger jet program, has prompted reactions from families who lost loved ones in the tragic crash of a Boeing 737 MAX8 jet in Ethiopia almost five years ago. The termination, effective immediately, follows a concerning incident last month where a door plug dramatically blew out midair, highlighting ongoing issues with the jet that have persisted over the years.

Robert A. Clifford, the lead counsel in the ongoing litigation related to the crash that resulted in 157 fatalities, expressed the families’ disappointment in a statement. He critiqued Boeing’s decision-making, stating, “For a corporation that professes a goal to reinvigorate a company-wide culture of safety over profits, these moves at Boeing totally miss the mark.” Clifford elaborated on the implications of replacing Clark with another business-focused executive rather than someone with a strong engineering background. This, he believes, indicates a continued prioritisation of financial over safety concerns within the company.

Clifford also criticised the manner of Clark’s dismissal, suggesting it represents a superficial attempt to assign blame without addressing deeper systemic issues. “And getting rid of a man who took over the operations after the two Boeing Max8 disasters smacks of a token ‘fall guy’ mentality so prevalent in a business-driven operation,” he remarked. According to him, significant change at Boeing would require a substantial overhaul of its top leadership, moving away from a culture focused on profits to one that prioritises engineering safety.

Katie Ringgold, currently vice president of 737 delivery operations, is reported to be Clark’s successor. This development comes as Boeing continues to face scrutiny over its handling of safety issues related to the 737 MAX jets, underscoring the long road ahead in restoring confidence in its commitment to safety.


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