Airlines

Ralph Nader, whose grandniece died in a 737 Max crash, says Boeing CEO Muilenburg and entire board need to go

Key Points
  • Consumer advocate Ralph Nader calls for the removal of Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the entire Boeing board of directors as the fallout intensifies over the aircraft maker's grounded 737 Max.
  • Muilenburg was stripped of his chairman title, the company announced Oct. 11.
  • "That's the first crack," Nader says.
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Consumer advocate Ralph Nader on Monday called for the removal of Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the entire Boeing board of directors as the fallout intensifies over the aircraft maker's grounded 737 Max.

"It's not happening at Boeing because the people at the top are in the same pit together," said Nader, whose grandniece was killed in the March crash of a 737 Max jet in Ethiopia. "They don't want to admit that they really, really performed in a very seriously adverse way to the safety of airline passengers."

Muilenburg was stripped of his chairman title, the company announced Oct. 11. Boeing said the separation of the two roles will allow Muilenburg to focus on getting the Max back to service. Lead director David Calhoun will serve as nonexecutive chairman.

"That's the first crack," Nader, who was speaking on CNBC's "Squawk Box," said of splitting the chairman and CEO.

Boeing was not immediately available to respond to CNBC's request for comment on Nader's remarks.

Shares of Boeing fell by more than 5% in Monday morning trading before regaining some ground, after Friday's revelations of 2016 messages that called into question the safety of the 737 Max jet's flight control system. Boeing said Sunday that it understands the concerns over the test pilot's leaked messages and that it's continuing to investigate what they meant.

It's not the first time Nader has called for a sweeping change in executives. In April, Nader called for Muilenburg and his team's resignation.

"Your mismanagement is replete with documentation. Management was criminally negligent, 346 lives of passengers and crew were lost. You and your team should forfeit your compensation and should resign forthwith," he wrote in an open letter published on his website.

Nader on Monday added that he's expecting changes in the Federal Aviation Administration's corporate structure. Former Delta Air Lines executive Steve Dickson was sworn in as FAA administrator in August.

"I think he's going to have to get his own team," Nader said of Dickson. "Look forward to some personnel changes at the FAA."

"We aren't going to comment on any administrative changes that Administrator Dickson might have in mind," an FAA spokesman said in response to Nader's remarks.

Nader's grandniece, Samya Stumo from Massachusetts, was among the 157 people killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa. Another crash involving a 737 Max happened in October 2018, when a Lion Air flight went down in Indonesia's Java Sea, killing 189 people.

The jets have been out of service worldwide since March in the wake of the two crashes.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Boeing separated the chairman and CEO roles on Oct. 11.

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