Boeing commercial planes chief exits amid fallout from 737 Max crashes

Kevin McAllister, the executive running Boeing’s commercial planes business, is stepping down amid lingering fallout from deadly crashes involving defective software in its 737 Max aircraft.

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McAllister, who took the position in 2016, oversaw the company’s efforts to return the 737 Max to service after its grounding by the Federal Aviation Administration last March following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 passengers and crew.

Boeing confirmed McAllister’s departure and named Stan Deal as his replacement.  “Boeing is a great company with a commitment to safety I have seen firsthand working side-by-side with many thousands of tremendously talented and dedicated employees,” McAllister said. “It has been an honor to serve with such a professional team for the past three years

The aviation giant, which maintains a global duopoly with rival Airbus, also tabbed Ted Colbert to succeed Deal as head of Boeing Global Services and Vishwa Uddanwadiker as interim chief information officer.

“Stan brings extensive operational experience at Commercial Airplanes and trusted relationships with our airline customers and industry partners; and Ted brings to our Global Services business an enterprise approach to customers and strong digital business expertise — a key component of our long-term growth plans,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg said in a statement.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes division President and CEO Kevin McAllister addresses a “Boeing Business Update” press conference on the first day of the International Paris Air Show on June 17, 2019 at Le Bourget Airport, near Paris. (Photo by ERIC PIER

Muilenburg lost the title of board chairman earlier this month, a move that directors said would let him “focus full-time on running the company as it works to return the 737 MAX safely to service.”

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The planemaker has faced mounting scrutiny in recent days after Reuters reported that company executives may have misled FAA officials about their knowledge of issues in 737 Max software. The system under scrutiny was designed to prevent stalls by keeping the plane from ascending at too steep an angle, and authorities have found evidence that it disrupted takeoff before both crashes because of erroneous sensor data.

“Boeing is a great company with a commitment to safety I have seen firsthand working side-by-side with many thousands of tremendously talented and dedicated employees,” McAllister said in a statement. “It has been an honor to serve with such a professional team for the past three years.”

Boeing shares rose more than 2 percent in trading Tuesday.

McAllister’s departure isn’t the first time a commercial airlines chief has left during a period of turmoil for one of the planemaker’s signature products. In 2009, Scott Carson relinquished the post after years of delays in development of the composite plastic 787 Dreamliner, which made its first flight at the end of that year. The twin-aisle jet was delivered to its first customer in 2011, three years behind schedule. Carson was succeeded by Jim Albaugh, who previously headed the defense business.

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