Boeing CEO Muilenburg 'has done everything right' says chairman

Boeing's chief executive Dennis Muilenburg has the support of the company's new chairman

"Dennis didn't create this problem, but from the beginning he knew that MCAS should and could be done better, and he has led a program to rewrite MCAS to alleviate all of those conditions that ultimately beset two unfortunate crews and the families and victims", Calhoun said on CNBC.

Muilenburg, who also testified October 29 before the Senate, acknowledged mistakes were made and said the company has taken numerous steps to redesign the 737 Max and to prevent such missteps in the future.

Boeing has acknowledged problems with the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, an automated flight control system implicated in both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes. Boeing is awaiting approval to have the plane fly again.

US Representative Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat who chaired last week's hearing by the House Transportation Committee, pointed to documents showing Boeing leadership during the MAX's development was "aware of numerous problems that engineers are now attempting to fix".

"Mr. Muilenburg's answers to our questions were consistent with a culture of concealment and opaqueness and reflected the enormous pressure exerted on Boeing employees during the development and production of the 737 MAX", Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Transportation Committee and Rick Larsen, D-Wash., chairman of the aviation subcommittee, said in a letter to colleagues Monday.

Muilenburg updates the board with new developments daily, and his leadership should set up a return to service for the grounded jets, Calhoun said.

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He said the 737 Max might not return to service "in its entirety" until 2021.

The stock and bonus make up the overwhelming majority of Muilenberg's pay.

While Muilenburg was "doing all the right things" prior to the questioning, the experience "changed him for life", Calhoun said.

In 2018, Muilenburg's total compensation package was $23.4m, according to a securities filing.

And Calhoun said the company was not considering clawing back Muilenburg's pay from earlier years because there was "no culpability".

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