Boeing appoints company veteran to head 737 program

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July 12, 2019
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Boeing's 737 plant in Renton, Washington.

Boeing veteran Mark Jenks has stepped up to take over the troubled 737 program as incumbent Eric Lindblad retires after a year at the helm.

Lindblad leaves the company after 34 years and in the midst of what Boeing Commercial Airplanes boss Kevin McAllister described as “unprecedented times”.

McAllister said Lindblad flagged his desire to retire last year.

The changeover comes as Boeing is trying to satisfy regulators that it is safe to return the Boeing 737 MAX to service after it was grounded in March in the wake of two fatal crashes in less than five months.

It also faces several investigations, multiple lawsuits and compensation claims from airlines.

In a memo to employees, McAllister said he was grateful to Lindblad for his strong leadership and drive over the past 12 months as he navigated some of the most difficult challenges Boeing had ever faced.

“Over the past three decades, Eric has made an impact on countless employees and has led some of the biggest bets of our business,’’ he said.

“And he has done it through the lens of doing what’s right and continuing to ensure our relentless focus and safety and quality.”

Jenks was vice-president of the New Mid-Market (NMA) program and will work closely with Lindblad over the coming weeks.

READ: Boeing first-half deliveries fall 37 percent as MAX crisis bites.

He was also instrumental in the development of the Boeing 787, having joined the program in its Sonic Cruiser days and working as vice president of 787 Airplane development to deliver the 787-9 while also working on the launch and definition of the 787-10.

Between 2014 and late 2017, he held a number of leadership roles on the 787 program and ultimately served as vice president and general manager of the program.

He has been leading the NMA development program and his role will be assumed by another well-regarded Boeing executive and former 787 veteran, Mike Sinnett.

This will be in addition to Sinnett’s role leading the Product Strategy and Future Airplane Development team.

McAllister said Sinnett’s strong track record of new development programs would be “instrumental to the long-term success of the NMA program”.

Sinnett would also continue to play a pivotal role in stakeholder and customer outreach efforts on the MAX certification and customer service efforts,  he said