Dave Calhoun, chief executive officer of Boeing Co., on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024. (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun will step down at the end of 2024, the company announced today in a major leadership shakeup that comes as the aerospace giant reels from a safety crisis involving its bestselling commercial plane.

The US planemaker has yet to identify a replacement for Calhoun. Steve Mollenkopf, a member of Boeing’s board and previously the chief executive of technology firm Qualcomm, will lead the search for a new CEO.

In addition, it was announced today that Larry Kellner will be stepping down as chairman of the board, following Boeing’s annual meeting this spring, with Mollenkopf taking over that role. Stan Deal, head of Boeing’s commercial planes arm, has also resigned immediately and will be replaced by Boeing Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Pope.

Boeing’s leadership has come under fire since a Jan. 5 accident where a door plug blew out of a brand new 737 MAX while in mid-flight, prompting investigations into the incident as well as an audit of Boeing’s 737 production line.

Calhoun will stay on through the duration of the year to guide the company through the ongoing crisis, he said in a letter to employees, adding that Boeing must “inculcate a total commitment to safety and quality at every level of our company.”

“I will only feel the journey has been properly completed when we finish the job that we need to do,” he said. “We are going to fix what isn’t working, and we are going to get our company back on the track towards recovery and stability.”

Pope — a longtime Boeing veteran with a financial background who was elevated to COO last year  — was widely considered to be a successor to Calhoun for the chief executive role. At the time, Calhoun was anticipated to stay at Boeing through the 2025-2026 timeframe to oversee the company’s financial recovery from the original 737 MAX crisis and COVID-19 pandemic.

Robert Stallard, an analyst with Vertical Research Partners, said the changes to Boeing’s C-suite are a “wise move” to restore confidence with its supply chain and regulators, but that much will hinge on who becomes Boeing’s next chief executive.

“As we commented last week we think it will require someone with pedigree and patience, as fixing Boeing is probably a multi-year non-linear journey,” he wrote in a note to investors. “Despite this major unknown, we can see Boeing’s share price responding positively to this announcement.”