737 MAX: Boeing returns his boss of commercial aircraft

Kevin McAllister is immediately replaced by Stan Deal, employee of the group since 1986 and until then at the head of the division offering various services (maintenance, training of crews …) of the aircraft manufacturer. This training engineer, who arrived from General Electric (GE) two years ago and was highly acclaimed for his good knowledge of the factories, was promoted in 2017 to head BCA to support the production rate increases of the main Boeing programs. – The 737 MAX, the 787 and the 777. His departure comes about ten days after the big boss, Dennis Muilenburg, was removed the title of chairman of the board of directors.

Kevin McAllister was not at the head of BCA at the time of the development of the 737 MAX but critics had however multiplied in recent weeks against him, according to internal sources.

Tensions between Seattle and Chicago

In particular, he was criticized for not having stepped into the niche, in view of the 737 MAX crisis, to reassure the general public, airlines and employees about this aircraft, which accounts for more than two thirds of Boeing's order book. “It was barely visible at a time when Boeing needed a public face,” said Richard Aboulafia, an expert at Teal Group. According to him, other departures will follow because Boeing needs an electroshock to overcome this crisis and it requires the appointment of new heads. “There were a lot of questions about Kevin McAllister,” said Jeff Sonnenfeld, a specialist in governance issues at Yale University.

According to this highly influential professor in corporate governance circles, Boeing's communication errors as regulators increased their supervision came under Kevin McAllister.

“There was a communication problem from Boeing Civil Aviation in Seattle (where BCA's headquarters are), they seem to have been aware of a lot of things and have been slow to communicate them at the company's headquarters in Chicago. “, says Mr Sonnenfeld, adding that MM. Muilenburg and McAllister were no longer on the same wavelength. Boeing, whose crisis communication is much criticized, including his alleged lack of transparency, did not give reasons for Mr. McAllister's departure.

Continuous dive

The eviction of Kevin McAllister. intervenes on the eve of Boeing's third quarter results, which should result in continued revenue plunge due to the suspension of MAX deliveries. It also occurs as pressure has increased on Dennis Muilenburg, who will be auditioned on October 30, for the first time, by US officials.

This hearing is crucial because the leader should be questioned about disturbing exchanges, published last Friday, between two of his test pilots who report possible malfunctions of the autopilot system, MCAS, implicated in the two accidents of the MAX . This system, which was supposed to prevent the aircraft from going into a dive, made it difficult to fly a simulator, according to these conversations.

It “derails in the sim (the simulator),” said Mark Forkner one of these drivers in these chat conversations from November 2016, one year before the certification of the 737 MAX and two years before the first accident. In addition to the 737 MAX, the aviation division is also experiencing problems with the 787 and 737 NG programs, the pre-MAX version.

The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) ordered at the beginning of the month an inspection of nearly 2,000 Boeing 737 NG after the discovery of “structural cracks” on a copy in China.

S & P Global Ratings warned Tuesday that it could lower the medium-term financial strength of the aircraft manufacturer, another potential blow.


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