Hoping For Five Aces, Boeing Reshuffles Top Management Team

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Boeing Commercial Aircraft (BCA) has shaken up its top-level management team, and despite adding a new position Vice President of the 737 Max program Ed Clark is leaving the company after 18 years of service. According to an email sent to employees yesterday by company CEO Stan Deal, he is replaced by Katie Ringgold, who moves into the Max hotseat after four years as VP of 737 Delivery Operations. Her replacement in that role has yet to be appointed.

Elizabeth Lund was appointed to the newly formed position of Senior VP for BCA Quality. “She will lead our quality control and quality assurance efforts, as well as the quality initiatives we recently announced,” Deal wrote in the email, adding “Elizabeth is uniquely qualified for this position, given her extensive leadership experience and knowledge of our airplane programs, production system, engineering, and supply chain.” Mike Fleming, from the leadership team in Boeing’s customer support division, takes over Lund’s position. He will report directly to Deal and also serve as Executive Chair of the Product Management Operations Council. Former 787 Chief Project Engineer Don Ruhmann will take over Fleming’s previous role—his replacement has yet to be assigned.

Lastly, after 12 years with BCA’s 787 program and serving as VP of BCA Total Quality, Carole Murray takes on the special assignment “to help the company achieve a smooth transition and … focus on accelerating our quality initiatives,” according to the email.

Deal told employees, “I am announcing [these] leadership changes as we continue driving BCA’s enhanced focus on ensuring that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements. Our customers demand, and deserve, nothing less.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

50 COMMENTS

  1. Good to see that there appears to be a shakeup going on at the upper levels, instead of firing a few hapless engineers who were just doing what they were directed to do.

    • For some reason I’m going to leave this comment in but I will say that this is the first I’ve heard of DEI in relation to the door plug incident and I’ll bet I’ve read more about it than most people.

    • I’m guessing that this DEI comment comes from these roles being assigned to women instead of men? Well, they guys have been doing it for a while now, and we’ve managed to boggle it pretty badly. Let’s give the girls a try. They can’t do worse than we did.

    • Gosh, Jethro, I’m with you, bubba. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was no such thing as “DEI”? Of course, that would already be the case if hiring decisions had always been made solely on the basis of skill, talent, demonstrated ability, and experience, instead of total irrelevancies like gender, ethnicity, age, or genealogy.

      Russ, you should have deleted JB’s post, not for the mention of DEI per se, but because it was stupid. Not only did his post contain nothing but a trigger, one could argue that it was the _lack_ of DEI at those levels of Boeing management that contributed to the fact that they are now using it to hire the new and more diverse crop of executives.

      Personally, I think this is nothing more than a desperate grab for a fig-leaf to cover their nether regions when they got pantsed. I agree with the other posters who assert that it is the corporate culture of Boeing, not the gender of its executives, that is responsible for their woes.

      • Maybe a little less condescending, incoherent Biden type gibberish from you, and some actual facts might make you more credible. Perhaps Boeing should stop contracting out huge amounts of their parts building to Spirit AeroSystems, which has a rather checked past on producing quality parts in Malaysia for Boeing, and try American workers in America. But hey, if you can get people halfway around the world to build parts, while working for 29 dollars a day, that’s what is important, and what’s more DEI than that. But I’m sure changing the gender names on the Executive bathrooms at Boeing are going to improve quality and safety quickly.

    • Yeah – the system didn’t alert an inspector to verify correct reassembly. Is this what is needed? Maybe. I hope them well.

  2. Boeing is a slow train wreck in progress. Under its current culture it cannot be stopped I don’t care how many people you hire and fire. In the end, profits and product performance will determine Boeing’s future unless of course the gov steps in with continued bailouts. That will only prolong the misery. Just ask Amtrak and USPS.

    • The government will make it worse. They need to weed out the McDonnel people, return Boeing to an engineering company that builds airplanes.

  3. “Elizabeth is uniquely qualified for this position, given her extensive leadership experience and knowledge of our airplane programs, production system, engineering, and supply chain.” I know a short sentence is not equivalent to a resume but it is interesting to note not mentioned are quality management skills experience. BUT, mentioned are the systems through which their current problems passed.

  4. To all those critics of DEI, I would say it’s entirely possible to recognize well trained and qualified DEI candidates, and help them promote their careers instead of passively dismissing them in favor of a white male. Elizabeth Lund is such a candidate, and is certainly better qualified than any commenter on this site to lead this program. Here’s her background, from Boeing’s website:
    “[Ms. Lund] follows her assignment as senior vice president and general manager of Airplane Programs for Commercial Airplanes, when she oversaw the 737, 747, 767, 777/777X and 787 programs.

    Lund previously served as the vice president and general manager of Commercial Airplanes Supply Chain, where she had responsibility for the overall strategy and development of supply chains. The Supply Chain team, at the time encompassed nearly 3,000 suppliers from 41 countries.

    Earlier, she was vice president and general manager of the 777/777X program, and oversaw design, development, certification, production and delivery. She also led the Boeing site in Everett, Wash.

    Lund earlier served as vice president and general manager of the 747 program, where she led the introductions of both the 747-8 Freighter and 747-8 Intercontinental. Before joining the 747 program, Lund was vice president and general manager of the 767 program as well as deputy program manager of the U.S. Air Force KC-X Tanker program.

    Previously, she was vice president of Product Development for Commercial Airplanes, and led development of new and derivative airplane products; managing the research and development plan; supporting technology programs, airplane concept centers and environmental performance strategy.

    Earlier in her career Lund held numerous executive leadership positions in engineering, program management, manufacturing and supplier management, including the Interiors Responsibility Center and Fabrication.

    She has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tulsa and a master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Missouri.”

    • What a bunch of defensive nonsense. It appears that Ms. Lund obtained an engineering degree, entered industry, worked hard and smart to be at the position she is at today. She has been at Boeing for 32 years. Not job hopping to further herself based on what she is instead of what she could do. Nothing to do with the insanity of DEI, just pure hard work and intelligence as it should be. The best individual for the job not the best check the box person. Hopefully Ms. Lund embraces the old Boeing culture of engineering excellence and they start weeding out the McDonnell Douglas bean counters.

      • Agreed Ms Lund seems to have a demonstrated talent to manage as well an engineering degree to understand the workers she manages. The challenge having served in SO MANY areas at Boeing, is to start fresh with each assignment getting to know the myriad of employees, their strengths, and the intrinsic challenges that each area of responsibility possesses, then start over. It is a long process to start over each time. This may be a poor analogy on my part, but I wonder if a MLB player were to start at catcher, move to pitcher, then short stop, first base……until all positions had been experienced, would that make them as talented as someone who stayed in a few less positions and thereby achieved a greater mastery? How many years would it take to master each position? Just asking, not stating.

  5. I think Steve S hit the nail on the head. Boeing, Northrop, McDonnell, Cessna, Beech, et al., and named after their engineering and product focused founders for a reason. These founders understood that the quality, performance, reliability, and safety of their products was THE reason for the value they commanded in the market and ultimately the long term strength of the business. Once the MBA and Wall Street set took over, attempting to squeeze profitability at the expense of quality engineering and and the culture that nurtures it, the downfall was inevitable (which by the way, the documentary “DOWNFALL” posits this very notion). My hope is that the new leaders can revive the culture that put Boeing where the used to be as a shining example of American industry, and that the rest of the corporate America wakes up and follows suit! BTW, airworthiness is not just a good idea, it’s like gravity, it’s everywhere, and it’s the LAW of the universe! No safety, no market.

  6. Lastly, after 12 years with BCA’s 787 program and serving as VP of BCA Total Quality, Carole Murray takes on the special assignment “to help the company achieve a smooth transition and … focus on accelerating our quality initiatives,”

    The 787 program has been wrought with issues, not sure this is the right person to put into that role.

    • Not to worry – “Special Assignment” is corporate speak for the kiss of death. Ol’ Carole just lost her corner window office for a cozy little cube by the supply closet. She’ll be moving on to greener pastures soon.

  7. The problem child of the moment is the 737. “… Katie Ringgold, who moves into the Max hotseat after four years as VP of 737 Delivery Operations.” Ringgold has an MBA. Boeing’s CEO has an accounting BA. ‘nough said.

  8. Russ every time this DEI chestnut crops up all the Jim Crow nuts like Jethro B. Redneck crawl out from under their rocks.
    Funny how none of the extensive investigative journalism on the MAX issues has uncovered anything concrete about these terrible diversity hires.
    A reminder to those guys – Boeing’s long glide down from acclaim to disdain has happened under the “leadership” of GREEDY WHITE DUDES.
    Own it!

  9. I heard Elizabeth never claimed to be an aviation executive, however, she did say she stayed at the Holiday Inn last night.

  10. For the record.

    Recent changes in Boeing’s leadership have generated different opinions. Some think that simply changing people will not solve deeper problems, but there is hope that it shows they are trying to improve things. There is still concern about past problems and whether leaders like Elizabeth Lund and Carole Murray can handle it, but some feel positive about the potential for improvement.

    The changes are happening a bit slowly, and it is frustrating because no one has yet taken responsibility for past mistakes. Despite the challenges, some are hopeful that Boeing will learn from its mistakes and do things better in the future.

    Opinions are mixed about the efforts to include more diversity in leadership. Some think it is a good thing, bringing hope for a more inclusive and creative environment in the company. Others say: “Let’s go back to making safe airplanes and not just chasing quick profits.”

    So yes, right now there is not much trust in Boeing’s leaders, but there is some hope that these changes can lead to better times. It is a reminder that even with all the uncertainties, positive changes can still happen.

    Here are some additional details about the recent changes at Boeing:

    • In December 2023, Boeing announced that it would be splitting its commercial airplanes division into two separate units: one for Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) and one for Boeing Global Services (BGS). This move was seen as an effort to improve accountability and focus on different areas of the business.

    • In January 2024, Boeing named Elizabeth Lund as the new president and CEO of BCA. Lund is the first woman to lead this division, and she brings with her a wealth of experience in the aerospace industry.

    • In February 2024, Boeing named Carole Murray as the new president and CEO of BGS. Murray is also a veteran of the aerospace industry, and she has a strong track record of success in leading global businesses.

    These changes are still in their early stages, but they are a significant shift for Boeing. It is still to be seen whether these changes will be enough to restore trust in the company and lead to a brighter future. Passenger lives matter!

  11. Sadly Ms Lund and Ms Murray are the Thelma and Louise of Boeing. The “Boys” have driven it over a cliff and they get to ride the car to the crash site.

    I personally think that Boeing has passed the point of no return. Hugely underwater due to the costs of fixing the 787 and Max, unable to achieve production scale efficiencies due to the completely broken QA process and now subject to a regulator that is determined not to be burned by lies and has them under a microscope.

    Sadly what was THE world leader in airliner design and production is now meme fodder.

    • Exactly. You hit the nail on the head. It’s not necessary to continue beating a dead horse. For all intents it’s over for Boeing. Boeing will continue with the dog and pony show, but, it doesn’t matter. Shuffle this, shuffle that, a little IED here a little DEI there. It doesn’t matter. This mess has been decades in the making and there really is no legitimate concerted effort to turn this wreck around. The cancer has just spread to far and deep.

  12. Is there hope for Boeing Commercial Aircraft (BCA)?

    There are some interesting parallels and differences to consider when comparing the current challenges Boeing’s Commercial Aircraft(BCA) faces with issues Airbus encountered in the past, particularly with the A300 empennage (AA587 et al) and A330 wing fatigue problems:

    1. Similarities:

    Public scrutiny and regulatory pressure: Both companies faced intense public scrutiny and pressure from regulators after their respective incidents. Boeing’s 737 MAX grounding and subsequent investigations are reminiscent of the A300 empennage issue, which led to production delays and regulatory scrutiny.

    Impact on reputation and orders: Both incidents had a significant impact on the companies’ reputations and order books. Airbus saw a decline in A300 orders and a temporary halt in production. Similarly, Boeing experienced order cancellations and delivery delays for the 737 MAX, impacting its financial performance.

    Lessons learned and process improvements: Both companies implemented significant changes in response to their respective issues. Airbus strengthened its manufacturing and quality control processes after the A300 incident, while Boeing has made major changes to its design and certification processes for the 737 MAX.

    2. Differences:

    Nature of the problems: The technical issues involved are distinct. The A300 empennage problem was a design flaw, while the 737 MAX issue involved software and sensor integration. This difference affected the scope of the fixes required and the regulatory response.

    Severity of impacts: The 737 MAX grounding had a more significant global impact than the A300 empennage issue, primarily due to the MAX’s wider market penetration and the number of aircraft grounded.

    Company transparency and leadership: There are differences in how each company’s leadership handled their mess. Airbus’s response to the A300 issue was seen as more transparent and proactive, while Boeing’s communication during the 737 MAX crisis faced criticism.

    3. Additionally, the A330 wing fatigue issue occurred later, in the 2010s. While it led to inspections and repairs, it didn’t have the same level of public scrutiny or impact as the A300 or 737 MAX cases. It’s important to note that both companies have excellent safety records overall, and these incidents do not represent their entire history.

    So, is there hope for Boeing Commercial Aircraft (BCA)?

    • BTW: Boeing has an overall rating of 3.9 out of 5, based on over 16,103 reviews left anonymously by employees. 75% of employees would recommend working at Boeing to a friend and 59% have a positive outlook for the business. This rating has been stable over the past 12 months.

  13. Those kind of numbers would really worry me if they were hospital staff numbers and I was the one in the operating room. Both professions have a direct impact on life in a big way.

  14. UPDATE: Is there confidence for the future of Boeing Commercial Aircraft (BCA)?
    I think so, as there are reasons for hope, aside the existing challenges. Here is a breakdown of the situation compared to Airbus’ recovery history:

    1. Similarities to Airbus’ challenges:
    • Public scrutiny and impact: Both companies faced public pressure and experienced declines in orders following incidents (A300 empennage flaw, 737 MAX grounding).
    • Lessons learned: Both Airbus and Boeing implemented significant improvements (Airbus focused on manufacturing and quality control; Boeing addressed design and certification issues).

    2. Differences to consider:
    • Problem type: The A300 issue had a design flaw, while the 737 MAX problem involved software/sensor integration, leading to different fixes and regulatory responses.
    • Impact severity: The global reach and the number of grounded aircraft made the 737 MAX grounding more extensive in its impact.
    • Company response: Airbus’s handling of the A300 issue was publicly perceived as more transparent, while Boeing’s communication during the 737 MAX crisis faced criticism.

    3. Additional factors:
    • A330 wing fatigue: Although it required repairs, it did not attract the same level of public scrutiny as the A300 or 737 MAX incidents.
    • Overall safety record: Both companies maintain excellent safety records despite these incidents.

    4. Another point to consider: Employee reviews and ratings:
    • Boeing’s standing: With a 3.9 out of 5 rating on Glassdoor, 75% recommending the company, and 59% expressing a positive outlook, Boeing’s employee feedback is generally positive.
    • Comparisons: Forbes’ 2023 World’s Best Employers list ranks Boeing 57th, while Airbus holds the 11th position.

    5. Hope for BCA:
    • Leveraging lessons: Boeing can draw from lessons learned by Airbus and its own improvements to rebuild trust.
    • Strong foundation: Boeing boasts a robust history and a skilled workforce.
    • Market demand: Anticipated recovery in the air travel market is expected to generate demand for new aircraft.

    6. Challenges remain:
    • Restoring trust: Gaining back public and regulatory confidence is paramount.
    • Competition: Airbus remains a formidable competitor, and new players are entering the market.
    • Financial recovery: Overcoming financial losses and managing debt are critical for Boeing’s revival.

    In conclusion, BCA’s future isn’t crystal clear, but there is optimism within the workforce and leadership. They’ve stumbled recently, but the lessons learned, and their strong foundation could help them bounce back. The market is hungry for new planes, creating an opportunity. However, rebuilding trust and facing stiff competition are key hurdles. So, while there are bumps in the road, BCA might just be able to take off again, if they play their cards right.

      • How many shakeups and reorgs is Boeing going to exercise before they realize that definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results?

        “Work the solution” is not happening at Boeing and it hasn’t been for quite a while.

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