Boeing CEO, Dave Calhoun faces tough questions from U.S. Senate and family of victims

Dave Calhoun took questions about his salary, safety, whistleblowers and much more.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun Testifies In Senate Hearing
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun Testifies In Senate Hearing / Andrew Harnik/GettyImages

Boeing has been in the headlines and the subject of memes across social media. Well, those jokes and conspiracies may have been confirmed during Dave Calhoun’s U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday.

Calhoun faced a slew of questions about the organization he leads while facing numbers of protesting family members of those who’ve died in recent accidents. He was hit with questions about his pay, Boeing’s safety issues, whistleblowers, and why he’s yet to resign considering all the situations facing the airplane maker. There were even tough questions about whistleblowers and retaliation, specifically with Senator Blumenthal asking about how many have been fired.

“Senator, I don’t have that number on the tip of my tongue,” Calhoun said during the hearing. “But I know it happens.”

Senator Hawley directly questioned Calhoun about his pay and what he does at the organization, later blasting him for his large salary.

“If safety is a component of your 33 million compensation package, how can you qualify for any of this?” Hawley said. “I think the truth is, Mr. Calhoun, you’re not focused on safety, you’re not focused on quality, you’re not focused on transparency.”

While senators had the microphones to take shots at Calhoun, they weren’t the only people there that had something to say. He faced several family members of Boeing 737 Max victims and apologized for what they’ve suffered through.

“I would like to apologize on behalf of all of our Boeing associates spread throughout the world – past and present – for their losses.” Calhoun said.

Yet, his apology wasn’t accepted as one person responded, “you should be in jail.”

Boeing has been a major talking point around safety in the airline industry since two crashes in 2018 and 2019. The two incidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed a combined 346 people. On January 5, a mid-air blowout of a door plug on a 737 Max 9 plane caused even more negative press. This led to a criminal investigation from the U.S. Justice Department. Since then, there have been several instances of safety issues becoming public and deaths of whistleblowers being covered by mainstream media.

Safety in the airline industry remains a major talking point, not just for Boeing but for the entire industry.