Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg offered to forego his bonus for 2019 amid lingering fallout from two deadly crashes involving the 737 Max jetliner, the company’s new chairman said on Tuesday.
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The decision was made public one week after Muilenberg faced intense scrutiny during a Congressional hearing and criticism for the $23 million compensation package he received in 2018, the same year the first 737 Max crashed in Indonesia. Another 737 Max crashed in Ethiopia in March, and the accidents together killed 346 people, resulting in a worldwide grounding of the airliner.
"We've made mistakes, and we got some things wrong,” Muilenberg said at the time. “We're improving and we're learning."
Boeing chairman David Calhoun told CNBC on Tuesday that Muilenberg called him Saturday morning to suggest he not take his bonus, which accounts for a large chunk of his total compensation, in 2019. Last year, Muilenberg's pay included a $1.7 million salary and a $13 million bonus, according to a regulatory filing from the Chicago-based company. He also received stock awards.
He also opted out of consideration for equity grants until the 737 Max is back in the air "in its entirety," Calhoun said. The jet remains under review by U.S. and foreign regulators.
"It was a significant move on his part," Calhoun said. "Nothing surprising on his part for me. Nothing."
In mid-October, the board stripped Muilenberg of his chairman title, saying it would enable him to focus full time on running the company as it works to return the 737 Max to service.
The world’s largest aerospace company is currently facing multiple lawsuits in both crashes, including one that alleges Boeing concealed problems and refused to ground the plane on its own.