Boeing puts Global Services chief in charge of commercial airplanes amid 737 MAX controversy

Stan Deal
Stan Deal, who was in charge of Boeing Global Services, now heads the aerospace giant’s commercial airplanes division. (Boeing via Twitter)

Boeing is shifting the head of its growing Global Services division to take over its troubled Commercial Services division, in hopes that his familiarity with supply chains and customers will counter a growing controversy over automated control systems on Boeing’s 737 MAX jets.

The company said Stan Deal, who had been president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, is replacing Kevin McAllister, who was president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“Our entire Boeing team is focused on operational excellence, aligned with our values of safety, quality and integrity, and we’re committed to delivering on our commitments and regaining trust with our regulators, customers and other stakeholders,” Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s president and CEO, said today in a statement announcing the shift. “Stan brings extensive operational experience at Commercial Airplanes and trusted relationships with our airline customers and industry partners.”

Deal has headed Global Services since it was split off from Commercial Airplanes to become a separate business unit in 2016. Before that split, he was in charge of services while it was under the wing of the Commercial Airplanes unit. In all, he has more than 30 years of aerospace experience at Boeing.

McAllister was named to head Boeing Commercial Airplanes when Boeing Global Services was created.

In his statement, Muilenburg said Boeing was “grateful to Kevin for his dedicated and tireless service to Boeing, its customers and its communities during a challenging time, and for his commitment to support this transition.”

McAllister, who came to Boeing from GE Aviation, said “it has been an honor to serve with such a professional team for the past three years.”

“Boeing is a great company with a commitment to safety I have seen firsthand working side-by-side with many thousands of tremendously talented and dedicated employees,” McAllister said in today’s statement.

McAllister held the top post at Boeing Commercial Airplanes over a period that stretched from the first 737 MAX delivery to the investigations spawned by two catastrophically fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018, in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Investigators concluded that both crashes were caused by technical problems with an automated control system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. Hundreds of 737 MAX jets were grounded worldwide, and although Boeing has worked out a software fix for the MCAS, the Federal Aviation Administration has not yet signed off on returning the jets to service.

BCA CEO Kevin McAllister
Kevin McAllister, shown here during a news conference in 2017, has left his post as president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

The continuing problems are said to have been a factor in this month’s decision by Boeing’s board of directors to strip Muilenburg of his title as chairman while keeping him on as president, CEO and director. At the time, The New York Times quoted unnamed sources as saying that Boeing executives questioned McAllister’s handling of the 737 MAX crisis and other problems related to the Commercial Airplanes unit.

In contrast, Deal has been behind many of the positive developments at Boeing Global Services, including a sharp rise in the business unit’s revenue and a string of acquisitions and partnerships. Global Services’ portfolio includes data analytics and airplane maintenance services, which are expected to become increasingly important selling points for Boeing’s future airplanes.

Deal’s replacement as head of Global Services is Ted Colbert, who joined Boeing in 2009 and served as the company’s chief information officer and senior vice president of information technology and data analytics. “Ted brings to our Global Services business an enterprise approach to customers and strong digital business expertise — a key component of our long-term growth plans,” Muilenburg said.

Vishwa Uddanwadiker is taking over Colbert’s previous role on an interim basis. He was most recently the vice president of information technology for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Muilenburg thanked Uddanwadiker “for stepping up to this important role.”

In today’s statement, Boeing’s new non-executive chairman, David Calhoun, said that the board “fully supports these leadership moves.”

“Boeing will emerge stronger than ever from its current challenges,” Calhoun said, “and the changes we’re making throughout Boeing will benefit the flying public well into the future.”

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