Boeing Co. said two longtime directors would step down as the aerospace giant’s board undergoes more changes in the wake of the 737 MAX crisis. The Chicago-based plane maker said Wednesday that Susan Schwab and Arthur Collins would retire from the board and not stand for reelection at Boeing’s annual shareholder meeting April 20. The company didn’t immediately announce the nomination of new directors for the board.
Mr. Collins, who once led medical device-maker Medtronic PLC, has been a Boeing board member since 2007. Ms. Schwab, a former U.S. trade representative, has been on the board since 2010. The Wall Street Journal reported the planned departures earlier Wednesday.
“Boeing has benefited enormously from their committed and dedicated service,” Chairman Larry Kellner said in a statement. The departures have been under consideration in recent weeks and are part of an effort following the MAX crisis to bring people with fresh perspectives onto the board, people familiar with the matter said. Four of Boeing’s 12 directors joined the board after the accidents.
Boeing’s board has faced scrutiny from investors and U.S. lawmakers ever since two of its 737 MAX jets crashed, in October 2018 and March 2019, claiming 346 lives. A year ago, the board added two new directors with safety and engineering experience, replacing two longtime members. Since the accidents, Boeing’s board has also created a permanent safety committee and split the roles of chairman and chief executive.
The accidents led to a nearly two-year grounding of the 737 MAX before U.S. regulators approved it to resume passenger flights late last year. The MAX crisis, which Boeing has estimated will cost it about $20 billion, has since been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic and the blow it dealt to global air travel and demand for new passenger jets.
Current and former Boeing directors and executives during the MAX crisis are facing a shareholders’ lawsuit that alleges lax board oversight as developments about the crashes unfolded. The suit, filed in Delaware’s Court of Chancery, cites internal Boeing documents and in part claims the company’s board failed to challenge then CEO Dennis Muilenburg on the 737 MAX’s safety. It also alleges current chief David Calhoun later exaggerated to journalists the extent of the board’s oversight between the two accidents as well as after.