Ousted Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to receive $60m in stock and pension

  • Muilenburg left after two 737 Max aircraft crashed, killing 346
  • Boeing says ex-CEO will forfeit stock worth $14.6m

Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, ousted amid the worst crisis in the company’s history, will depart with stock and pension awards worth more than $60m, the company announced on Friday.

Muilenberg, 56, will forfeit stock worth $14.6m, according to Boeing, but is contractually entitled to receive $62.2m in stock and pension awards.

“We thank Dennis for his nearly 35 years of service to the Boeing Company,” the company said in a statement. “Upon his departure, Dennis received the benefits to which he was contractually entitled and he did not receive any severance pay or a 2019 annual bonus.”

Muilenberg presided over Boeing as two of its top-selling 737 Max jets crashed, killing 346 people. The disasters led to a global grounding for the jet and criticism of the company’s cosy relationship with its regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.

On Thursday Boeing released emails to a congressional committee investigating the tragedies in which its own executives mocked the regulator, joked about safety and said the Max had been “designed by clowns”.

Muilenberg was appointed chief executive officer of Boeing in July 2015. He started working as an intern at the company in 1985.

The 737 Max, the latest iteration of its popular passenger jet, was Boeing’s bestselling plane ever until two fatal crashes led to its grounding. In October 2018 a Lion Air jet crashed in Indonesia killing all its passengers. In March 2019 another Max crashed in Ethiopia killing everyone onboard.

The company is now being investigated by regulators across the world and sued by the relatives of passengers.

In congressional testimony last October Muilenberg told lawmakers: “If we knew everything back then that we know now, we would have made a different decision.” He said Boeing officials had asked themselves “over and over” again why they didn’t ground the plane sooner.

But evidence has since emerged that Boeing and the FAA were aware of potential problems with the anti-stall software Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) installed on the Max that has been blamed for both crashes.

Those issues were ignored even after the Lion Air disaster as the FAA gave Boeing breathing space to address a problem that the regulator predicted could lead to one fatal crash about every two or three years without intervention.

In 2018 – before the second deadly crash – Muilenberg was awarded a $23.4m pay package, up 27% from the previous year.

Contributor

Dominic Rushe in New York

The GuardianTramp

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