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The Boeing Company is currently facing its worst crisis yet as it begins the search for its 13th CEO. The company has been plagued by safety incidents, federal investigations, and financial losses totaling over $31 billion since 2019. The decision by current CEO Dave Calhoun to step down has left the company in need of new leadership.

One key factor in deciding on a new CEO is whether to choose someone with an engineering background, which was common among past CEOs, or someone with a financial background like Calhoun. Critics believe that a focus on financial results over engineering excellence in recent years has contributed to Boeing’s current problems. Many believe that returning to its engineering roots is essential for the company’s recovery.

Several potential candidates have been mentioned, including Pat Shanahan, the former Boeing executive known for dealing with various problems during his tenure at Boeing. Another candidate is Larry Culp, who successfully turned around General Electric by moving away from the cost-cutting focus of previous leaders. Kathy Warden, CEO of Northrop Grumman, is also seen as a strong candidate due to her success in growing the company’s revenues.

Greg Smith, the former CFO of Boeing, is another potential candidate with experience on both the company’s side and the airlines’ side of the crucial customer relationship. Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford and veteran of Boeing, could also be a good fit if he were willing to come out of retirement. The board may consider internal candidates to replace Calhoun, such as Stephanie Pope, Brian West, or Elizabeth Lund.

The decision on the new Boeing CEO is crucial as the company navigates its current crisis and works to regain the trust of its customers and the public. The choice between an engineering-focused leader or a financial-focused leader will likely shape the company’s future direction. The new CEO will need to prioritize safety, quality, and customer relationships to lead Boeing to a successful recovery. Time will tell whether the changing of the guard at Boeing will bring about the necessary changes to address the company’s issues.

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