Boeing: How could the CEO know so little?
Members of Congress this week confronted Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg with evidence that “numerous people inside Boeing were aware of the potential dangers” of Boeing’s troubled emergency warning system, said David Gelles and Natalie Kitroeff in The New York Times. Rep. Pete DeFazio (D.-Ore.) produced an email showing that as early as 2015 Boeing employees asked what would happen if the airplane’s “angle of attack” sensor failed. Other documents showed that Boeing knew pilots could face “catastrophic” failure if they “took 10 seconds to respond” to the sensor’s warning. With victims’ families seated behind him, Muilenburg acknowledged that, “We have work to do.”
The most revealing exchange in Muilenburg’s Senate hearing was with Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas), said Brooke Sutherland in Bloomberg.com. Pressed by Cruz, Muilenburg said he was “generally aware” of documents that raised questions about the Boeing 737 Max, but he “relied on his counsel to provide that information to the appropriate authorities.” Muilenburg passing the buck left Cruz fuming. And he was right to fume. Muilenburg said he found out about “bombshell” messages from Boeing’s test pilots “over the last couple of weeks when it became public news.” A full year after the plane’s first crash, that kind of ignorance from the CEO is “inexplicable.” ■