It’s been a tough couple of years for Boeing, the commercial jet manufacturer responsible for many of the jets you fly throughout your travels. After the company was forced to halt production of its 737 Max earlier this month, Boeing fired its CEO Dennis Mullenberg just in time for the Christmas break.
Despite getting fired, though, the ousted CEO may take home a hefty paycheck of $39 million for his troubles. The move is being criticized as families of the 737 Max crash victims will receive only a small fraction of that—around $144,000.
The company’s rocky year began back in October of 2018 when one of its 737 Max planes crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta into the Java Sea. The crash killed all 189 people onboard the plane. Months later, in Ethiopia, another crash with an eerily similar timeline killed all 157 people onboard the 737 Max.
At that point, the FAA suspected that the issue was with the Boeing aircraft rather than a pilot or airline error. Over the next couple of weeks every 737 Max in the world would be grounded through the remainder of the year. But since the plane was popular among airlines, Boeing was still producing the jets while searching for a cause (and solution) to the fatal error.
When a solution could not be determined months after the groundings, Boeing was forced to halt production on its 737 Max plane. Hundreds of jets remain on Boeing property in Washington and Texas waiting to be delivered to their respective owners around the world, but the company is unable to deliver them until they can find a solution to the error that caused the two fatal crashes.
The Victims Fund
Boeing fired its CEO around the same time that it set up a $50 million dollar victims fund that will be split to each of the families of the victims of the plane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The fund will address their immediate needs, while another fund of the same amount will be made to address other “family and community needs” according to the company.
Mullenberg, meanwhile, is set to receive around $39 million in severance from the company after being fired earlier this week. Mullenberg has been criticized for forcing the company to focus on profit rather than safety, in a move that lost much of its rapport in recent months after an exposé published by The New York Times in April 2019 showed that Boeing has been cutting corners in order to keep up with demand.
The company’s chairman of the board of directors, David Calhoun, has been named the new CEO.