Boeing Co.'s board of directors has separated the roles of chair and chief executive officer as it works to return the 737 MAX safely to service, it said on Friday evening.
Dennis A. Muilenburg continues as CEO, president and a director, while the board elected David L. Calhoun, current independent lead director, to serve as non-executive chair.
According to a statement from Boeing, the board said splitting the chair and CEO roles will enable Muilenburg to focus full-time on running the company as it focuses on to returning the grounded 737 MAX safely to service, giving support to Boeing's customers around the world, and implementing changes to sharpen the company's focus on product and services safety.
"This decision is the latest of several actions by the board of directors and Boeing senior leadership to strengthen the company's governance and safety management processes," Boeing said.
"The board has full confidence in Dennis as CEO and believes this division of labor will enable maximum focus on running the business with the board playing an active oversight role. The board also plans in the near term to name a new director with deep safety experience and expertise to serve on the board and its newly established Aerospace Safety Committee," Calhoun said.
Muilenburg added that he was "fully supportive" of the decision. "Our entire team is laser-focused on returning the 737 MAX safely to service and delivering on the full breadth of our company's commitments," he said.
The company has been attempting to get its 737 MAX back into service. Two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia, which killed hundreds of people, resulted in the aircraft's grounding worldwide.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has faced criticism over its approval of the 737 MAX.