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Boeing removes head of 737 Max program after panel blowout incident
Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

Boeing removes head of 737 Max program after panel blowout incident

Boeing recently ousted the head of its 737 Max program as part of a management reshuffling within the company after a door panel blew out during a flight last month.

Ed Clark has been replaced after nearly 18 years with Boeing, according to the company's executive vice president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Stanley Deal, NBC News reported.

On Wednesday, Deal announced, "Ed departs with my, and our, deepest gratitude for his many significant contributions over nearly 18 years of dedicated service to Boeing."

Clark has led the program since 2021, overseeing the company's factory in Renton, Washington. The Renton facility managed the final assembly of the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 plane involved in last month's incident. The flight was forced to make an emergency landing when an exit door panel blew out mid-flight. All Boeing 737 9 Max planes were grounded for a few weeks for quality control inspections.

According to the United States National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report, the plane may have left the Boeing factory without key bolts to secure it, Blaze News previously reported. The report noted that the panel should have been held in place by four bolts and 12 "stop fittings." All four of the bolts appeared to be missing, it claimed.

"Overall, the observed damage patterns and absence of contact damage or deformation around holes associated with the vertical movement arrestor bolts and upper guide track bolts in the upper guide fittings, hinge fittings, and recovered aft lower hinge guide fitting indicate that the four bolts that prevent upward movement of the [mid exit door] plug were missing before the MED plug moved upward off the stop pads," the report read.

The incident damaged Boeing's reputation, cost it billions of dollars in value, and even resulted in a lawsuit from shareholders. The company's investors argued that its "serious safety lapses" and "poor quality control" measures were to blame for the incident and ultimately prompted a drop in stock prices.

In 2018 and 2019, two 737 Max 8 planes crashed due to problems with the planes' flight stabilization feature. All those on board, 346 people, were killed. From March 2019 to November 2020, all Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded.

Deal announced that the recent management shake-up is part of the manufacturer's "enhanced focus on ensuring that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements."

"Our customers demand, and deserve, nothing less," Deal added.

An email from Deal to employees revealed that Clark will be replaced by Katie Ringgold, the vice president in charge of delivering 737s. Ringgold will serve as the vice president and general manager for the 737 program and the Renton factory.

In late January, Boeing CEO David Calhoun acknowledged that the company "caused the problem." He stated that Boeing "will work" to regain airlines' confidence. Calhoun also noted that Boeing has increased inspections at its factories and suppliers.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →