Failure Brings Firing

Boeing CEO is out!

by Eric Holdeman / December 31, 2019

The Boeing company is big business in Washington state. The factory that makes the 737 Max is less than 20 miles from where I live. Likely about the only good thing to come of the cessation of manufacturing of the 737 Max will be that the traffic at 5 a.m. on State Highway 167 will be much less than normal. 

See this NPR story on the impacts coming from the 737 production cessation and also the firing of their leader, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg Is Out.

His dismissal should not have been a surprise. If anything, it has taken a long time for them to get to this point. As a leader of a Fortune 500 company, the fortunes of the company are your fortunes. Do well and you get those performance bonuses as the stock price rises. Have the type of troubles that has brought down the Boeing stock price, and you can expect a long permanent vacation to be in your future. 

Don't feel too sorry for him. Likely he is 58-60 years old and would have retired in the next five years. It is not like he was working to maintain his health insurance. The message of new leadership actually made the stock price go up 3 percent on the news of the firing. 

Boeing is definitely not out of the financial woods. FAA is not being speedy about granting safety approvals and the 737 production line has been the cash cow of the company, providing a dependable revenue stream. If this really drags out, beyond February, a financial restructuring or even a bankruptcy could be the final result. 

I recall a financial analyst who works for Boeing recounting a story. She was in the employee cafeteria and overheard some Boeing engineers talking. One said that Boeing really didn't need to make money. Duh! That was 18 years ago and today's situation is proof positive that Boeing is not a government and yes — they do need to make money in order to stay in business. 

The last leadership lesson from the above story is that, with leadership comes risks. No matter what your situation is today, with leadership comes the opportunity for success and failure. In the emergency management business disaster failures are very prominent events. You might not be personally to blame for the outcomes of disasters, but you will be the "sacrificial lamb" placed on the altar to appease those who want blood.

And, yes unless you are of an age or means to retire, you will need to find work and health benefits. 

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