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Boeing needs to be led by engineers, time is not on its side, Emirates Airline president says

Boeing needs to be led by engineers if it wants to pull itself out of its current crisis, Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airline, said Wednesday.

Boeing said Monday that CEO Dave Calhoun will step down at the end of the year, part of a broad management shake-up. The U.S. aerospace giant is once again mired in controversy following a recent series of mid-flight technical failures, starting with a door panel that blew off of a new Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 midflight on Jan. 5

The Federal Aviation Administration and Justice Department are now scrutinizing the plane maker more intensely, the former capping the production of Boeing's 737 aircraft at 38 per month while it investigates the company's manufacturing practices. The FAA grounded all 737 Max 9 aircraft with door plugs for inspection on Jan. 6, though the planes were cleared to fly shortly afterward.

"To fix Boeing's issues the company needs a strong engineering lead as its head coupled to a governance model which prioritizes safety and quality," said Clark, who leads Dubai's flag carrier Emirates.

"It is little wonder that the Machinists Union wants a seat on the board, simply to ensure that the voice of the factory floor is part and parcel of the decision process and is fully integrated into the governance model's risk management strategies."

Aviation analysts and former Boeing employees have criticized the company's reported sidelining of engineers in its senior management ranks. They note that of the top executives at Boeing, the only one with an engineering background was Stan Deal — the outgoing CEO of Boeing's commercial airplane division. He is stepping down and will be succeeded by Stephanie Pope, Boeing's newly named chief operating officer, Boeing said