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Boeing Shareholders Stand by Departing CEO Amidst Safety Concerns

Despite a series of safety crises and regulatory scrutiny, Boeing shareholders voted to keep outgoing CEO Dave Calhoun on the company’s board of directors. The decision, announced at its annual general meeting, comes as the aviation giant grapples with a series of investigations, potential prosecutions and a collapse in production of its best-selling jet.

Calhoun, who plans to retire later this year, will remain on the board as the company navigates these challenges. The decision was made despite recommendations from CEO Glass Lewis to vote against Calhoun’s re-election, citing dissatisfaction with the company’s efforts to transform its safety culture.

In the coming weeks, Boeing will submit a final plan to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address “systemic quality control issues,” a response to the FAA’s 90-day deadline issued in late February. Calhoun said, “We anticipate that the FAA will take as much time as necessary to review that plan and hold us accountable to the various control parameters that are put in place as we move forward.”

The company is also in the process of searching for Calhoun’s successor. Steve Mollenkopf, former Qualcomm CEO and Boeing’s new president, said the company sought feedback from customers, employees and investors in the research. “The months and years ahead are critically important for our company as we take the necessary steps to regain the confidence we have lost in recent times, get back on track, and operate as the company we all know Boeing can and should be,” Mollenkopf said.

Despite the company’s challenges, shareholders also supported a non-binding advisory vote on compensation, even after proxy advisor ISS flagged a misalignment between CEO pay and company performance. Tony Bancroft, portfolio manager at Gabelli Funds, which owns Boeing shares, believes Calhoun’s compensation package is in line with a company of Boeing’s size.

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