Boeing has sacked its chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, in a move, the board of directors said “was necessary to restore confidence” in the firm.

David Calhoun, Boeing’s current chairman, will take over as chief executive and president from January 13.

Muilenburg had faced calls for his resignation over the company’s response to two deadly crashes involving the firm’s best-selling 737 Max airliner.

The jet has been grounded since March.

Last week, Boeing said it would halt the production of the plane while it waited for regulators to certify the jet’s safety.

“The board of directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders,” Boeing said in a statement.

Boeing added that Lawrence Kellner would become a non-executive chairman with immediate effect.

Michael Stumo, who lost his daughter, Samya Rose, in one of the 737 crashes and has organised victims’ families against Boeing, called the resignation a “good first step toward restoring Boeing to a company that focuses on safety and innovation.”

“The next step is for several board members who are underperforming or unqualified to resign,” he said.

The 737 Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia occurred within five months of each other and killed 346 people.

Air safety officials investigating the tragedies have identified an automated control system in the plane, known as MCAS, as a factor.

Boeing has said the software system, which relied on a single sensor, received erroneous data, which led it to override pilot commands and push the aircraft downwards. (BBC)

 

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