Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun Blasted By Senate Panel
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun Blasted By Senate Panel

Watch: Boeing CEO Blasted by Senate Panel - 'Why Haven't You Resigned?'

The hearing featured testimonies from current and former Boeing employees.

New Delhi:

In a stunning admission before a US congressional panel, Boeing’s CEO Dave Calhoun admitted that the aerospace giant has retaliated against whistleblowers, contradicting its publicly stated policies.

Mr Calhoun’s acknowledgement came during a tense Senate hearing aimed at probing Boeing’s safety practices following two fatal crashes involving the 737 MAX aircraft in 2018 and 2019. These tragedies led to 346 deaths and exposed severe flaws in Boeing’s manufacturing and oversight processes. 

Moment Of Reckoning

Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chaired the hearing, was unyielding in his critique of Boeing’s leadership. “Boeing stands at a moment of reckoning and an opportunity to change a broken safety culture,” he said.

Mr Blumenthal revealed that the sub-committee overseeing the investigation had received testimony from over a dozen whistleblowers, many of whom described a workplace where safety concerns were often dismissed or punished.

When asked how many Boeing employees had been fired for retaliating against whistleblowers, Mr Calhoun confessed, “Senator, I don’t have that number on the tip of my tongue. But I know it happens.”

Whistleblower Testimonies

The hearing featured testimonies from current and former Boeing employees who painted a troubling picture of a company prioritising profits over safety. Among them was engineer Sam Salehpour, who alleged that the Dreamliner could suffer a catastrophic accident due to flawed manufacturing processes. 

Mr Salehpour, who worked at Boeing for nearly two decades compared a potential incident to repeatedly bending a paper clip. “You do it once or twice… it doesn’t break. But it breaks at some time,” he said in April this year. 

A memo from the sub-committee detailed new whistleblower complaints. One particularly alarming account came from Sam Mohawk, who alleged that Boeing ordered improperly stored parts to be hidden from federal aviation inspectors. According to Mr Mohawk, this was allegedly done to avoid costly increases in storage capacity and staff

Dave Calhoun’s Defence

Mr Calhoun began his testimony with an apology to the families of the victims of the 737 MAX crashes, stating, “Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress.” Despite his assurances, Mr Calhoun’s inability to provide specific numbers on whistleblower retaliation cases drew sharp criticism from lawmakers.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley, from the state of Missouri, accused Mr Calhoun of putting profit above safety. He slammed Mr Calhoun’s $33 million compensation package and questioned his leadership, saying, “You’re the problem. And I just hope to God that you don’t destroy this company before it can be saved.” 

Mr Hawley said it was a “travesty” that Mr Calhoun was still in his job and why he is not resigning.

“Senator, I’m sticking this through,” Mr Calhoun responded.

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