Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) has made some management changes in the wake of numerous recent quality issues that have affected its airframes and cast a shadow over the US airframer.

In a note to employees on 21 February, chief executive Stan Deal said the shifts – which take effect immediately – are designed to help Boeing’s “enhanced focus on ensuring that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements”.

Ed Clark, vice-president and general manager of the 737 programme and the airframer’s Renton plant is leaving the company after a string of problems that have plagued the narrowbody jets. He had taken over the role in 2021.

“Ed departs with my, and our, deepest gratitude for his many significant contributions over nearly 18 years of dedicated service to Boeing,” Deal says. Katie Ringgold will succeed Clark in the role.

Boeing 737 Max, Renton

Source: The Seattle Times, Ellen Banner, pool reports

Boeing makes management changes in Commercial Airplanes unit after numerous quality issues

Elizabeth Lund, senior vice-president airplane programmes, has been named to the newly-created role of senior vice-president of BCA quality, where she will oversee quality assurance efforts as well as the recent initiatives announced in the wake of several safety incidents.

“Elizabeth is uniquely qualified for this position given her extensive leadership experience and knowledge of our airplane programmes, production system, engineering, and supply chain,” Deal says.

Mike Fleming, senior vice-president of development programmes and customer support, will succeed Lund, he says.

“In addition to overseeing the 737, 767, 777/777X, and 787 production programmes, Mike will continue leading our customer support team,” Deal says. Fleming will report directly to Deal and serve on the executive council as chair of the Program Management Operations Council.

Don Ruhmann, formerly chief project engineer of the 787 programme, will succeed Fleming, and will also report to Deal.

Earlier this month, Boeing warned that near-term 737 Max deliveries were likely to be delayed after it was alerted to a “non-conformance” in the fuselages of 50 undelivered jets. At the time, the airframer said rivet holes on the fuselages “may not have been drilled exactly to our requirements”.

That was just the latest in a string of safety and quality events that have placed the 737 Max programme under deeper scrutiny. On 5 January, a door plug on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 blew out while in flight, leading to a rapid decompression. The incident left a gaping hole in the side of the aircraft, but the pilots landed safely without serious injuries to passengers or crew.

That led to a Federal Aviation Administration-mandated grounding of all Max 9s. The company held an all-hands safety meeting to discuss “our company’s response to this accident, and reinforcing our focus on and our commitment to safety, quality, integrity and transparency”, Deal said at the time.

During 2023, Boeing revealed an issue involving mis-drilled holes in 737 aft-pressure bulkheads and a problem involving loose bolts in rudder assemblies. It also disclosed a separate issue with fuselages, which are produced by Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems.