"The eyes of the world are on us."

Golden Parachute

The New York Times reports that David Calhoun, the CEO of the deeply embattled aerospace giant Boeing, is set to resign later this year.

Calhoun's promised departure was declared this morning in a memo to company staffers and comes amid the aerospace company's latest aircraft safety crisis, kicked off by a terrifying moment in early January in which a door of a brand-new Boeing 737 Max was ripped out of an Alaskan Airlines plane mid-flight.

In the months since that incident, an alarmingly long list of Boeing quality lapses — cracks in cockpit windshields, tires falling off planes mid-air, passengers spotting missing wing parts, and more — has emerged. As a result, Boeing has been accused of cutting manufacturing costs by outsourcing parts of its assembly process to questionable contractors, a practice that arguably placed stockholder value above aircraft quality, and thus passenger safety. Now, as public and federal scrutiny only continues to mount, it seems that the pressure was too much for Calhoun.

"The eyes of the world are on us," Calhoun told Boeing employees in the Monday memo, according to the NYT, "and I know we will come through this moment a better company, building on all the learnings we accumulated as we worked together to rebuild Boeing over the last number of years."

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In Calhoun's memo, he reportedly noted that the Alaskan Airlines scandal was a "watershed moment for Boeing." Which, in the court of public opinion, feels true.

But Boeing's safety issues aren't new. Calhoun himself was elevated to the CEO role in 2020 following the departure of former CEO Dennis Muilenburg, whose tenure oversaw devastating Boeing crashes in 2018 and 2019 that collectively took the lives of 346 people. And in 2017, before either of these horrifying crashes, a whistleblower — who, in a bizarre and gruesome turn, was earlier this month found dead in his vehicle due to an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound — came forward to sound the alarm bells about Boeing's allegedly negligent manufacturing process.

Speaking of alleged corporate negligence: Calhoun's departure comes just a few short weeks after the NYT reported that the federal government was launching a criminal investigation into the Alaskan Airlines incident.

Anyway. Considering Boeing's oligopolistic chokehold on the aviation market, let's hope that new leadership might — this time — actually lead to a culture change. In the meantime, though, it's safe to say that the public likely won't be on Calhoun's side as he makes his slow exit.

"Don't let the door hit ya on the — never mind," netizen Chris Stellar wrote in a Bluesky post earlier today, "there's no door."

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