It has just been announced that Eric Lindblad, who is the Boeing Vice President in charge of the 737 MAX program and Renton assembly plant, will be retiring. Lindblad has been at Boeing for 34 years, though has only been in his current role since last August.
He was brought into the role to fix the supply chain and manufacturing issues that Boeing was having with the 737 MAX, though within months of him taking the role, the focus shifted quite a bit. As we all know by now, two Boeing 737 MAXs crashed, and the planes have been grounded globally since March, with no end for the groundings in sight.
Lindblad is 57 and said in a letter to employees that he had planned to retire last summer, but couldn’t turn up the opportunity he was given. He notes that 23 of his 34 years at Boeing were spent in Renton, and that this opportunity was like a homecoming for him. He also notes how it has been one of the most challenging times the Boeing 737 program ever faced.
Boeing Commercial CEO, Kevin McAllister, has made it clear that Lindblad isn’t being forced to retire.
He praised Lindblad’s “strong leadership and tireless drive over the past 12 months leading the 737 program, as he has navigated some of the most difficult challenges our company has ever faced.”
Frankly I’m surprised we haven’t seen more management changes at the top of Boeing (though Boeing’s CEO has since been fired), given the current 737 MAX disaster, and the amount of credibility that Boeing has lost as a result of this.
In this particular case, though, I do believe that Lindblad left voluntarily, and he certainly can’t be blamed for what went wrong here.
Assuming the story is true, I can’t imagine planning on retiring and then taking a job in hopes of helping with supply chain, only to have this disaster end up happening.
Then again, if he is leaving voluntarily, is he doing so because he thinks there’s someone better for the job, or he’s job at the point where he’s saying “screw it, I don’t want to deal with this anymore?”
Good luck to whoever takes his place…