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Boeing Chairman Talks CEO Compensation, Says Muilenburg 'Didn't Create This Problem'

Jayson Derrick

Boeing Co (NYSE: BA) CEO Dennis Muilenburg faced "uncomfortable questions" related to compensation when he testified in front of U.S. lawmakers, Boeing Chairman David Calhoun told CNBC in a Tuesday interview. 


Muilenburg faced two days of congressional questioning in late October and was questioned why he hasn't forgone part or all of his 2019 compensation after two fatal Boeing 737 Max crashes killed 346 people.

On Tuesday, Calhoun told CNBC that the topic of compensation falls under the responsibility of the board. Muilenburg has volunteered to forgo a short-term bonus, a longer-term bonus and any equity grants until the Max returns to the skies, he said. 

"It was a significant move on his part," Calhoun said. "Nothing surprising about that for me. Nothing."

Changed For Life

Calhoun also told CNBC Muilenburg that listened to every story throughout his congressional questioning, including those from families of victims. While Muilenburg was "doing all the right things" prior to the questioning, the experience "changed him for life," Calhoun said. 

The Right CEO

From the perspective of Boeing's board, Muilenburg "didn't create this problem" and knew the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, in the Boeing planes "should and could be done better," Calhoun also said.

Muilenburg has led a program to rewrite the MCAS with the purpose of "alleviating all of the conditions that ultimately beset two unfortunate crews and families and victims," the board chairman said.

Muilenburg updates the board with new developments daily, and his leadership should set up a return to service for the grounded jets, Calhoun said. 

"It's a tough and important task and we believe he is up to it." 

Boeing shares were trading 2% higher at $358.13 at the time of publication. 

Related Links:

Boeing CEO Muilenburg Grilled On 737 Max Crashes, Apologizes To Victim Families In Senate Hearing

CNBC's LeBeau: 'No Indication' Boeing's Board Will Fire CEO


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