Josh Hawley Scorches Boeing CEO During Fiery House Hearing: ‘You’re PROUD?’


Outgoing Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun faced intense bipartisan criticism over the company’s safety, transparency, and quality standards during Tuesday’s Senate hearing. Having concluded, the hearing was defined by sharp exchanges with Josh Hawley (R-MO), as well as other Senators.

Throughout the hearing, Calhoun was pressed on numerous issues, including the safety of Boeing’s aircraft and the company’s response to past tragedies. “Why haven’t you resigned?” Hawley began, cutting straight to the point.

“Senator, I’m sticking this through,” Calhoun said. “I’m proud of having taken the job. I’m proud of our safety record and I am very proud of our Boeing people.”

Hawley, visibly incredulous, shot back, “You’re proud of this safety record?”

“I am proud of every action we have taken,” Calhoun affirmed.

Hawley’s disbelief was palpable. “Every action you’ve taken?” he reiterated.

“Yes sir,” Calhoun confirmed.

“Behind you, you can’t see it, but the folks are showing pictures of the people who are the victims of your safety record,” explained Hawley. “I think we can all see them, and I think the American public, when they fear to get on their airplanes, they understand your safety record. And frankly, sir, I think it’s a travesty that you’re still in your job.”

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Washington hearing, while not completely satisfying to victims’ families, did bring some measure of accountability. For the first time, Calhoun faced lawmakers and tough questions from both Republican and Democratic senators.

Calhoun has faced significant safety issues and mishaps during his tenure, including multiple plane groundings and a midair fuselage blowout. Despite the problems, Calhoun has seen little accountability. Instead, Boeing’s board of directors has rewarded him handsomely, providing a salary and stock options worth over $20 million annually, along with a $45 million retirement package according to CNN.

Calhoun announced his retirement plans for the end of this year, though his successor still remains unnamed. While he has a preferred candidate, Calhoun stated that the final decision rests with Boeing’s search committee and board. During Tuesday’s hearing, Calhoun highlighted management changes at Boeing since the two fatal crashes and the 737 Max grounding in 2019 and 2020, as well as additional changes following the Alaska Air incident. However, when questioned about the $243 million criminal penalty Boeing paid after the deadly 737 Max crashes, Calhoun faltered, admitting he didn’t know the exact amount.

In a moment charged with raw emotion, Calhoun turned away from the witness stand to face the grieving families of Boeing 737 Max victims, carrying photos of their loved ones, and offered a heartfelt apology. His admission was blunt: the company had indeed retaliated against employees who dared to voice safety concerns. The somber reveal came as Boeing faces mounting pressure from regulators, reeling from a string of safety blunders, the latest being a door plug that detached from an Alaska Airlines flight just minutes after its ascent in January.

Hawley also pointed out that Calhoun’s reported 2023 salary was $32.8 million, a 45% increase from the previous year. As the hearing concluded, it was clear that the questions surrounding Boeing’s safety and management practices are far from resolved.

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