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Before the sun came up over Boeing’s commercial operations in Seattle on Monday morning, the aerospace giant’s headquarters in Chicago announced it was shifting leadership. Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg was abruptly fired and those who have long blessed and directed its strategy, will take new roles. Chief financial officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO until Jan. 13, at which point chairman of the board, David Calhoun, lead director since 2018 and a former General Electric executive, will take over the role as the company’s top executive. Larry Kellner, another long-time board member and former CEO of Continental Airlines, becomes Boeing’s non-executive chairman.

Muilenburg’s departure comes after an extended string of crises that left its most important commercial, defense and space products all in limbo and its stakeholder relationships in tatters. It all added up: Twin crashes of the 737 Max aircraft in 2018 and 2019 and the jet’s subsequent grounding, delays to its flagship 777X, stalled regulatory approval of its joint venture with Embraer, design problems that compromised KC-46 tanker deliveries and, most recently, a procedural error that caused Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner to miss its planned orbit to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station.

Related: The world pulls the Andon Cord on the 737 Max

With that as its battlefield, the move to oust Muilenburg is principally designed “to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders,” the company said in a statement. But while Boeing’s immediate focus is on “a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the [Federal Aviation Administration], other global regulators and its customers” it is its own fractured structure that will demand its immediate attention, according to senior officials across its customers, suppliers, regulators and labor groups.

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Jon Ostrower is Editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Prior to launching TAC in June 2018, Ostrower served as Aviation Editor for CNN Worldwide, guiding the network's global coverage of the business and operations of flying. Ostrower joined CNN in 2016 following four and half years at the Wall Street Journal. Based first in Chicago and then in Washington, D.C. he covered Boeing, aviation safety and the business of global aerospace. Before that, Ostrower was editor of the award-winning FlightBlogger for Flightglobal and Flight International Magazine covering the development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other new aircraft programs from 2007 to 2012. Ostrower, a Boston native, graduated from The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs with a bachelor's degree in Political Communication. He is based in Seattle.

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