When he's right, he's right.

Fresh New Faces

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is taking potshots at Boeing's embattled CEO David Calhoun, accusing him of being a clueless executive who lacks the necessary expertise.

Musk took aim at Calhoun's business background, arguing that "the CEO of an aircraft company should know how to design aircraft, not spreadsheets."

As Business Insider points out, it's a valid argument. Calhoun has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Virginia Tech University, with no engineering background whatsoever.

The news comes as Boeing is struggling to return its plagued Starliner spacecraft, which is currently docked at the International Space Station, back to Earth. NASA announced last week that the date of its return journey has been pushed back indefinitely, following the discovery of several helium leaks affecting its thruster system.

Meanwhile, Musk's SpaceX has launched a total of ten successful Crew Dragon missions to the ISS over the last five years. The spacecraft was developed under the same NASA Commercial Crew contract.

In other words, Boeing isn't just struggling greatly with its avionics department, but even its cursed spacecraft project continues to stumble. Maybe Musk is right that new leadership is long overdue.

Engineering Chops

Under Calhoun's leadership, Boeing has gone through crisis after crisis, from two 737 Max 8 crashes that resulted in 346 people losing their lives in 2018 and 2019 to an ejected "door plug" that forced another passenger jet to make an emergency landing earlier this year.

Since then, several whistleblowers have come forward, accusing Boeing of lacking safety standards.

In short, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Calhoun is planning to step down at the end of this year, given his abysmal track record. Musk is arguably right to call for an exec who actually knows his way around an aircraft or spacecraft.

Musk isn't alone in thinking that Boeing needs new leadership with at least some engineering chops.

"To fix Boeing's issues the company needs a strong engineering lead as its head coupled to a governance model which prioritizes safety and quality," Emirates president Tim Clark told CNBC in March, shortly after Calhoun announced his resignation.

But finding a new head who's willing and capable of cleaning the astronomical mess Calhoun will leave behind is easier said than done. The company faces a barrage of lawsuits, with prosecutors now recommending that the Justice Department file federal criminal charges against the company following the two deadly 737 Max 8 crashes.

Several candidates have since turned down Boeing's offer, indicating it's an incredibly unpopular job. And who could blame them, given the sheer scale of the company's troubles?

More on Boeing: Boeing's Cursed Starliner Seems to Be Stuck on the Space Station Indefinitely

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