Boeing gives CEO Calhoun a vote of confidence

Calhoun joined Boeing as the 737 Max jet crisis raged

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun can postpone his retirement party. 

The board of directors raised the mandatory retirement age for Calhoun, who was brought in at the height of the 737 Max jet crisis, from 65 to 70 just days after he turned 64. The extension was announced at the company's annual shareholders' meeting which was held virtually. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BA THE BOEING CO. 235.29 +5.45 +2.37%

The board’s vote of confidence for Calhoun comes as Boeing continues to struggle to recover from two crashes of its best-selling airliner and the coronavirus pandemic, which has undermined demand for new planes. Boeing lost nearly $12 billion last year as orders and deliveries plunged.

Fmr. Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via AP, Pool, File (AP)

Calhoun assumed the helm after CEO Dennis Muilenburg was forced to resign amid the fallout in 2019. The planemaker said the leadership change was made in an effort to "bring renewed commitment to transparency better communication with regulators and customers in safely returning the 737 MAX to service."

While the FAA has since cleared the aircraft to return to the skies, challenges remain. This month, more than a dozen airlines — including Southwest, American, United and Alaska — grounded about 90 Max jets after Boeing told them to inspect the planes for a potential issue involving electrical grounding of some components.

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LUV SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 61.64 +0.96 +1.58%
AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC. 22.00 +0.51 +2.37%
UAL UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS 54.73 +1.68 +3.17%
AH n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

Calhoun said Tuesday that those planes should be fixed "in days, not weeks or months." However, the issue further complicates Boeing’s relationship with airline customers, which have had to scramble other planes to meet their flight schedules, and it could reinforce the views of passengers who worry about flying on a Max.

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Still, company officials said they will put both the Max crisis and the pandemic behind them. In recent weeks, Southwest and United have placed orders for more Max jets.

FOX Business' Matt Kazin and the Associated Press contributed to this report.