Boeing Co.’s board stripped CEO Dennis Muilenburg of his dual role as chairman on Friday following two deadly crashes of its 737 MAX jet

WSJ | 10/11/2019 | Andrew Tangel
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Boeing said it took the action to allow Mr. Muilenburg to focus on running the company as it returns the MAX fleet to service after it was grounded world-wide in March following two fatal crashes in less than five months.

The leadership change came hours after a panel or air-safety experts sharply criticized Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for missteps that led to the crashes, which killed all 346 people on flights in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The report has added to criticism in Washington, D.C., where lawmakers are considering potential changes to aviation oversight.

David - Calhoun - Blackstone - Group - Inc

David Calhoun, a senior Blackstone Group Inc. executive who has been the board’s lead director, will become its chairman. The board has “full confidence in Dennis as CEO and believes this division of labor will enable maximum focus on running the business with the board playing an active oversight role,” Mr. Calhoun said in a statement.

Do you think Boeing’s split of the CEO and chairman roles will improve management accountability and bolster board oversight? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

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Getting control of the crisis proved challenging for Mr. Muilenburg, who is slated to testify before a House committee at the end of the month.

Mr. Calhoun, who previously served as chairman of Caterpillar Inc.’s board, has become increasingly assertive over management in recent months, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Calhoun joined Boeing’s board in 2009 with prior aerospace experience, having at one point run General Electric Co. ’s aircraft engine business.

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Production rates have been a recent point of contention between Messrs. Calhoun and Muilenburg, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Calhoun has urged caution with decisions related to production levels while finished MAX planes pile up at Boeing facilities, unable to be delivered while the aircraft is grounded, these people said.

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