RENTON, Wash. — While Boeing CEO David Calhoun is new to his role at the helm of the company, he's been on the board of directors for years.
In a teleconference with reporters, he didn't hold back on the negative spotlight the company is currently under.
“We’re just going to get back down to restoring trust in one another, trust with our customers and trust with our regulator," Calhoun said of his employees' airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). “And we’re going to be transparent every step of the way, no matter how tough that is.”
During the call, he was also frank about how he ended up in his position: “I was always the backup plan for this. And make no mistake, we talk about the culture just like you do. And there are things we would like to see changed, and we will.”
The “culture” Calhoun refers to exploded into view in recent weeks
When the company released to the media reams of emails, text and instant messages between test pilots, engineers and other unnamed employees who mocked the FAA and even called the company leadership “clowns” during the design and training for the 737 MAX.
Calhoun said it's something he would have quashed had he known about it. He said the board was not made aware of the issues, which included the design of the MCAS software that was blamed for two 737 MAX deadly crashes at the cost of 346 lives, and should have been.
Going forward, Calhoun says safety and the training of pilots around the world is a key factor in building confidence in the plane, and back into the company. “Safety first, without it, there is no shareowner value," he said.
Calhoun said he welcomes FAA regulation, too. “And it’s a tough process, the FAA is laying on us, and I’m all for it."