Boeing CEO Muilenburg 'has done everything right' says chairman

CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Saturday offered to give up significant compensation for 2019. Sarah Silbiger  Reuters

Boeing's new chairman David Calhoun Tuesday supported CEO Dennis Muilenburg, noting that he'd offered to forgo all bonuses this year and saying that from the viewpoint of the company's board, he'd done "everything right" in the wake of two deadly crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max. While the FAA practice of delegating oversight to subject experts at Boeing has contributed to aviation safety, that wasn't true for the Max, Calhoun acknowledged.

"Mr. Muilenburg's answers to our questions were consistent with a culture of concealment and opaqueness and reflected the vast pressure exerted on Boeing employees during the development and production of the 737 Max", Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Transportation Committee and Rick Larsen, D-Wash., chairman of the aviation subcommittee, said in a letter to colleagues Monday.

Muilenburg had previously been stripped of his role as company chairman as a result of the crisis. Muilenburg also faced numerous calls to resign during two days of hearings. Each flight crashed within minutes of taking off. "There is no question the fundamental assumption we designed around was flawed with respect to how a pilot would react".

Calhoun said Muilenburg called him Saturday morning to say he'd forgo his bonuses for 2019, "which of course is most of your compensation".

"And our job now is to make sure that whatever processes we had, whatever process our regulator has, that those processes never allow for this to ever happen again".

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The endorsement came a day after Democratic lawmakers renewed their attack on the embattled CEO, accusing him of fostering a "culture of concealment and opaqueness".

"The base line is that there are a whole lot of unanswered thoughts, and our investigation has a lengthy way to go to get the solutions all people deserves, primarily the families of the crash victims", DeFazio stated in a letter to congressional colleagues.

But Calhoun explained criticism of Boeing's corporate tradition skipped the mark.

"If he can get us from here to the endpoint, and the endpoint being a Max that's flying in service and accepted by the flying public and begins to restore our brand", Calhoun said, "I might argue he's just about the most qualified executive in the world to be running a company like Boeing".

"We're likely to guidance Dennis". He earned about $13.1 million from a bonus tied to individual and company performance, and another $7.3 million in stock awards. In 2018, he received total compensation of $23.4 million, of which $20.4 million was in the form of stock and bonuses.

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