Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun blasted in US Senate hearing while apologizing for safety woes

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In Washington on June 18, U.S. senators criticized the CEO of Boeing for the company’s compromised safety record, overshadowing his apologies to families affected by the 737 MAX crashes. Chief Executive Dave Calhoun faced inquiries about his salary, Boeing’s safety practices, and why he plans to retire by year’s end instead of resigning immediately at a Senate hearing. Despite harsh questioning, Calhoun defended the company’s actions, stating, “I am proud of every action we have taken.”

Senator Josh Hawley pressed Calhoun on his resignation, accusing him of prioritizing profits while receiving a multimillion-dollar pay package. Calhoun’s total compensation in 2023 increased to $32.8 million, a 45% rise from the previous year.

The hearing highlighted Boeing’s tarnished safety reputation and the impending departure of Calhoun, who announced his intention to step down by year-end amidst a company-wide restructuring. Senator Richard Blumenthal, chair of the subcommittee, described the hearing as a critical moment for Boeing, advocating for potential prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department due to substantial evidence of wrongdoing.

Blumenthal, a former federal prosecutor, emphasized the need for legal action, citing Boeing’s failure to maintain a compliance and ethics program as agreed upon in a deferred prosecution deal following the tragic crashes. Prosecutors have until July 7 to disclose their intentions to a federal judge in Texas regarding potential legal proceedings.

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