Boeing CEO Admits That It Retaliated Against Whistleblowers

During a recent Senate grilling, Boeing CEO David Calhoun acknowledged that the business has retaliated against whistleblowers. Families of those killed in the Boeing disaster attended the hearing, which gave the proceedings more poignancy. Although Calhoun seemed to apologize from the bottom of his heart at first, doubts about its genuineness lingered.
The hearing swiftly shifted to more pressing issues. Senator Richard Blumenthal asked how many Boeing workers were let go for taking hostile actions against leakers. After claiming that retaliation was against corporate policy at first, Calhoun later acknowledged, “I can’t recall the exact number.” However, I am aware that it occurs.” This disclosure brought to light structural problems with Boeing’s company culture.

Calhoun’s compensation also came under scrutiny. In 2023, he earned $32.8 million, and he is set to receive a $45 million golden parachute upon his retirement later this year. These figures drew ire, especially considering Boeing’s recent history of safety incidents and whistleblower allegations. The company’s repeated plane crashes and the constant flow of whistleblower reports paint a troubling picture of its operational practices.

Calhoun defended Boeing’s culture, acknowledging its imperfections while asserting that the company is taking action and making progress. “Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress. We understand the gravity, and we are committed to moving forward,” he stated. However, industry expert Richard Aboulafia of AeroDynamic Consultancy offered a more critical perspective. He remarked that Boeing’s ability to change has been driven primarily by frustration from airline customers rather than internal reforms. Aboulafia bluntly stated, “Nothing has produced change [at Boeing] except frustration from a bunch of airline customers. I’m not sure what will change as a consequence of this. He [Calhoun] needs to go. He has shown a strong desire to double down on what’s bad.”

The Senate hearing underscored the ongoing challenges Boeing faces in addressing safety concerns and fostering a culture that truly supports transparency and accountability. As Calhoun prepares to step down, the path to genuine reform at Boeing remains uncertain.

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