Aerospace & Defense

Boeing's fired CEO Muilenburg walks away with more than $60 million

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Key Points
  • Boeing fired Dennis Muilenburg last month as the crisis that followed two fatal crashes of the 737 Max worsened.
  • Muilenburg was criticized for failing to recognize safety risks and for allowing the company to cut corners to get the planes to market.
  • Longtime board member Dave Calhoun takes over as CEO on Monday. He's entitled to a $7M bonus if regulators approve the Max to fly, among other milestones.
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 29: Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of the Boeing Company, testifies before the Senate Commerce Committee October 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

Boeing denied former CEO Dennis Muilenburg severance when he was ousted for his handling of the 737 Max crisis, but he will walk away with more than $60 million in pension benefits and stock, the company said Friday.

Boeing fired Muilenburg last month amid a ballooning crisis around its 737 Max jets in the wake of two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. Longtime board member Dave Calhoun will become Boeing's new CEO on Monday.

Regulators have repeatedly said they have no firm timeline to allow the planes to fly again. The grounding, which is entering its 11th month, has cost airlines more than $1 billion, all but halted new sales of the jets and prompted Boeing to temporarily shut down production of the planes.

It has also left Boeing scrambling to win back regulators and repair its tarnished image.

In the filing Boeing said Calhoun would receive a $1.4 million-base salary and a $7 million bonus payable on the "achievement of several key business milestones, including full safe return to service" of the planes.

A Boeing lifer who joined the company as an intern, Muilenburg exacerbated Boeing's 737 Max problems by repeatedly issuing forecasts about when the planes would return to service, drawing rare public rebukes from the Federal Aviation Administration.

He was also criticized by lawmakers for taking too long to accept blame in the crashes and for failing to spot safety risks before the plane, Boeing's best-seller, came to market in 2017.

"Mr. Muilenburg is not entitled to — and did not receive — any severance or separation payments in connection with his retirement after more than 30 years with the Company," Boeing said in the filing.

Muilenburg will forfeit stock worth $14.6 million, but is entitled to pension and stock benefits of about $62 million, Boeing said. Victims' family members complained after the announcement. Boeing in July said it was giving $50 million to family members of the 346 victims, a sum that is apart from any settlement families win in their lawsuits against Boeing.

"Boeing executives should be walking away in handcuffs, not with millions of dollars," Zipporah Kuria, who lost her father, Joseph Waithaka, in Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, said in a statement. "I hope the whole world is watching."

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the value of the stock that Boeing's ousted CEO forfeited. The value would have been $14.6 million.