Boeing just sacked the head of its 737 Max program, an 18-year company veteran

Feb 22, 2024 6:44 am | News

The head of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max program is leaving the company after a midair blowout of a panel on an Alaska Air jet that led to withering scrutiny of the planemaker’s most-important model.

Ed Clark is stepping down effective immediately, ending nearly 18 years at Boeing, the company said Wednesday. Katie Ringgold succeeds Clark as vice president and general manager of the 737 program and Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington.

The move marks the first management change since the company plunged into crisis after a fuselage panel blew off a nearly new 737 Max on Jan. 5. US regulators have sent teams of inspectors to Boeing’s factories to review quality controls and those of the supplier that makes most of the 737 Max’s fuselage.

Clark’s exit is part of a broader shakeup announced by commercial chief Stan Deal in an internal memo. Elizabeth Lund was named to a new position of senior vice president for quality at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Lund had previously overseen production of all Boeing commercial aircraft including the 737 as senior vice president for airplane programs at the company. Mike Fleming succeeds Lund as senior vice president and general manager of airplane programs.

US Federal Aviation Administration personnel are working through a six-week audit of Boeing’s practices, whose findings are expected to inform recommendations for reforms by the company. The regulator also launched an investigation into Boeing after the Alaska accident, and has embedded more staff into Boeing’s factories as part of an enhanced oversight push in the wake of the accident and a string of other quality lapses.

Investigators have said the panel on the Alaska plane should have been secured by four retaining bolts, but those critical parts were missing from the aircraft when it left Boeing’s Renton factory.

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