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Boeing reassigns executives amid company's 737 Max crisis

March 20, 2019 - 11:51 am

(CBS — Facing an all-out crisis of confidence over the two 737 Max crashes and with the investigations pointing to a potential design flaw in the new airliner, Boeing’s commercial airplane division is reallocating engineering resources. The company installed a new VP of Engineering and appointed another executive to focus on the crash investigations.

CBS News has obtained an internal email from Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister announcing John Hamilton as the unit’s new chief engineer.

He will “fully dedicate his attention to the ongoing accident investigations,” McAllister wrote in a division-wide email. “As we prioritize and bring on additional resources for the ongoing accident investigations.”

Hamilton was the commercial airplane’s division VP of Engineering for most the last three years. The 737 is a platform he’s familiar with having served for a time as the chief project engineer on the 737 family early in this decade, but was promoted to a different position in July of 2013. The Max project was launched in August 30, 2011 and made its first flight in late January 2016.

Lynne Hopper will replace him as VP of Engineering for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. She’s a long time Boeing engineer/executive.

A Boeing spokesman declined to comment other than to confirm the email which is included below. The management changes were first reported by Reuters.

This is the message Kevin McAllister, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO sent to all employees of Boeing's Commercial Airplanes division:

As we prioritize and bring on additional resources for the ongoing accident investigations and continue to drive the very best in our Engineering team, I'm making two leadership announcements that will strengthen both efforts.

I've asked John Hamilton to focus solely on his chief engineer role. This will allow him to fully dedicate his attention to the ongoing accident investigations. John's leadership will bring together the engineering capabilities from across the entire company. His deep experience with airplane design, regulatory standards and requirements, and engineering functional excellence makes him the right person to lead these significant efforts.

I've also asked Lynne Hopper to rejoin BCA as vice president of Engineering. Lynne comes to us from Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology where she led Test & Evaluation. Lynne will lead the entire BCA Engineering organization as it sharpens its competitive edge to ensure that the right skills, digital tools and processes are in place. Based on her broad experience, she brings a One Boeing mindset to her role.

Both John and Lynne will report to me and be functionally aligned to Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer and senior vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology.

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