Boeing CEO Has 'Moment of Reckoning'

Senators grill David Calhoun on safety issues, whistleblowers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2024 6:32 PM CDT
Boeing CEO Has 'Moment of Reckoning'
Boeing CEO David Calhoun testifies at a Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations hearing Tuesday, June 18, 2024.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

In what Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal called a "moment of reckoning," Boeing CEO David Calhoun was grilled by lawmakers Tuesday over issues including safety failures and retaliation against whistleblowers. The BBC reports that relatives of Boeing 737 Max crash victims, some of them holding photos of their loved ones, yelled at Calhoun during the hearing.

  • An apology. CNN reports that before his opening remarks, Calhoun turned to face the families. "I would like to apologize on behalf of all of our Boeing associates spread throughout the world—past and present—for their losses," he said. One person replied, "You should be in jail."
  • "You are strip-mining Boeing." Republican Sen. Josh Hawley was one of Calhoun's fiercest critics during the hearing, the AP reports. Hawley, who repeatedly mentioned Calhoun's $32.8 million salary, accused him of being too focused on profits. "You are cutting corners, you are eliminating safety procedures, you are sticking it to your employees, you are cutting back jobs because you are trying to squeeze every piece of profit you can out of this company," Hawley said. "You are strip-mining Boeing."

  • Whistleblowers. Calhoun acknowledged that there had been retaliation against whistleblowers at the company, CNN reports. When Blumenthal asked him if anybody had been fired for retaliating against whistleblowers, Calhoun said he knows it happens but he didn't have the numbers. Calhoun admitted that he hadn't spoken to any whistleblowers or their families, but agreed that it would be a "good idea."
  • He blames "untrained workforce." Calhoun, who became CEO in Jan. 2020 and plans to step down before the end of this year, blamed production problems on post-pandemic staffing issues. "So much of this is related to an untrained workforce. It's all about that, honestly," he said, per the BBC.
  • Another whistleblower. Hours before Calhoun spoke, Blumenthal's office said another whistleblower had come forward, the Hill reports. The office said Sam Mohawk, a quality assurance inspector at Boeing's massive Renton, Washington plant, alleged that the company improperly tracked and stored potentially defective parts. He said supervisors told him and other workers to "cancel" records that said parts were unsuitable to be installed on planes, the AP reports.
(More Boeing stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.