Boeing Removes 737 MAX Chief: Push for Safety Continues

Boeing Removes 737 MAX Chief: Push for Safety Continues
Photo Credit: Boeing.

In the last few hours, it has emerged that the Chief of the Boeing 737 MAX program, Ed Clark is leaving, as the company continues to push the new message of safety.

A letter was sent out by the CEO of the Commercial Airplanes Division, Stan Deal, outlining changes in leadership positions.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

Leadership Changes at Boeing Revealed…

Boeing Removes 737 MAX Chief: Push for Safety Continues
Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource

Four leadership changes were revealed via a memo sent to all employees of Boeing Commercial Airplanes today.

First off is Elizabeth Lund, who has been named the new Senior VP of Quality at Commercial Airplanes, where she will oversee quality control and assurance efforts at the planemaker.

The second was the assignment of Mike Fleming as the new Senior VP & General Manager of the Airplanes Program.

Thirdly was Don Ruhmann who becomes the VP of Development Programs, who was previously the 787 Chief Project Engineer.

Finally, the most important one of them all was the departure of Ed Clark, who leaves Boeing after 18 years of service, and was the VP & General Manager of the 737 Program and Renton Site, which includes the 737 MAX.

Katie Ringgold has been named as the successor to Ed’s job, with all eyes now transferring over to her in this critical moment for Boeing.

Strategy of 737 MAX Safety Continues at Boeing…

Boeing Removes 737 MAX Chief: Push for Safety Continues
Photo Credit: Harrison Rowe/AviationSource

It was only a matter of time before the first scalps were made at the Boeing HQ, following the events that occurred onboard Alaska Airlines flight AS1282 in Portland back in January.

The four bolts that hold the Boeing 737 MAX 9 door plug in place were missing at the time of last month’s blowout on Alaska Airlines flight 1282.

Photo documentation in the preliminary report shows this. The report says that “four bolts that prevent upward movement of the MED plug were missing before the MED plug moved upward off the stop pads.”

Such changes made in the leadership structure today highlights the steps that Boeing is taking in terms of ensuring further safety into the 737 MAX program, on top of what has been revealed in the weeks past AS1282.

This has been evidently seen through the lack of presence from the American planemaker at the Singapore Airshow this week. Whilst orders have been unveiled, there is a feeling of cautiousness being taken.

No commercial aircraft have been on static display this week, which has been seen as a first amongst the aviation journalism community.

Decisions have been made a lot more carefully in recent weeks, with this level of cautiousness expected to continue as the process of regaining trust and rebuilding safety continues.

Another example of this has been observed through the proposed expansion of the Boeing 737 MAX production line being halted in order to address such safety concerns outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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What Next?

Boeing Removes 737 MAX Chief: Push for Safety Continues
Photo Credit: Boeing.

Off the back of what was deemed as a successful 2023 for Boeing, the theme of cautiousness will contrast with the significant sales momentum applied, and rightly so.

2024 will be about getting the core safety culture at Boeing re-applied and implemented to a standard higher than they have implemented themselves over their vast and extensive history.

We are still very early into this year: It will be interesting to see what the global stage will look like for the American planemaker, particularly on the Commercial Airplanes side of things.

A message is beginning to form from this: The manufacturer is beginning to wake up to the realities of what has happened with the 737 MAX program, and the agreements with regulators and making the necessary changes does outline that point.


Photo Credit: Boeing.

As Ed Lund departs Boeing, the appointment of Katie Linggold as the new VP & General Manager of the 737 Program will be one to watch.

Will we see anymore important announcements pertinent to the handling of the recent crisis involving Alaska Airlines flight AS1282?

Another point is: Will more heads roll as a result of this? Or is that it, in terms of leadership changes?

These are all things that we will find out no doubt throughout the course of this year, as Boeing aims to rebuild trust and safety assurances with the 737 MAX project.

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By James Field - Editor in Chief 6 Min Read
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