Experts Question Whether Boeing’s Board of Directors Is Capable Of Righting The Company - After The 737 MAX Story
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February 9, 2020 by Lewis Kamb for seattletimes.com
In December, when Boeing's board of directors fired CEO Dennis Muilenburg, some corporate governance experts and investment analysts wondered what took so long.
By then, the aerospace company's latest iteration of its best-selling airplane, the 737 MAX, had been grounded worldwide for more than nine months following two crashes that killed 346 people.
Investigations, lawsuits and news stories revealing festering internal problems had piled up. Muilenburg faced public grillings and calls for his resignation during Congressional hearings. Revenues and stock values plummeted. Worst of all, Boeing's once sterling reputation for quality and safety was badly tarnished.
The prolonged hesitance to fire Muilenberg in the face of spiraling crises underscores concerns about the board's oversight of the company, even as it faced the most troubling period of its 103-year history. It also raises questions about the board's culpability in the tragedies and its ability to reestablish confidence in the company among regulators, Wall Street and the flying public.
"Nine months is a long time — it's a forever in business for a crisis like this," said Charles Elson, a professor of finance and head of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. "So, the question is, where was the board during that time?...
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