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Boeing Extends Mandatory CEO Retirement Age

By Lou Whiteman - Updated Apr 20, 2021 at 11:27AM

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It will now be 70 instead of 65.

Boeing's (BA 0.26%) long-serving chief financial officer will retire this summer, but the aerospace giant is taking steps to make sure CEO Dave Calhoun doesn't quickly follow him out the door.

In a statement, Boeing said that Gregory D. Smith, who has served as CFO since 2011, will retire effective July 9. The board is also extending the company's standard CEO retirement age from 65 to 70, allowing Calhoun, 64, more time at the helm.

A Boeing Dreamliner in flight.

Image source: Boeing.

The shuffling comes as Boeing tries to turn the page after a disastrous couple of years. The company's 737 MAX was grounded in March 2019 after a pair of fatal accidents, and only returned to the skies last fall. It has also been hit hard by the pandemic, which has cut into commercial airline demand for new planes.

Boeing's board and management have faced heavy scrutiny due to the 737 MAX issues. Calhoun, then a director, took over as CEO in January 2020 after former CEO Dennis Muilenburg was forced out. But the company and its board remain under pressure.

Boeing noted that while the board's action extends the mandatory retirement age for Calhoun to April 1, 2028, there is no fixed term associated with his employment.

Board chair Larry Kellner praised Calhoun's work in navigating "one of the most challenging and complex periods in its long history" and said now is not the time to be considering a CEO swap.

Kellner added, "Given the substantial progress Boeing has made under Dave's leadership, as well as the continuity necessary to thrive in our long-cycle industry, the board has determined that it is in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders to allow the board and Dave the flexibility for him to continue in his role beyond the company's standard retirement age."

Lou Whiteman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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