Yesterday Denis Muilenburg, whose tenure as CEO of Boeing is coming to an inglorious end, said nothing much to a US Senate inquiry.
The usual and expected apologies and platitudes were exchanged.
Yet key issues stood out in the subtext. Firstly, senators saw a need for more legal oversight. Muilenburg did not.
Senators thought it should be left to the FAA to determine final certification. Muilenburg did not.
Senators said that oversight shouldn’t always be a partnership with Boeing, but Muilenburg argued for things to remain, in essence as they are.
He did accept things went wrong. He did acknowledge that he didn’t know about key issues- pointing out that in his role technical details were the responsibility of others.
And that might be true to a point. What nobody asked him and he never once came close to having to admit, was if the pursuit of profits had so changed the company ethos that inadvertently, safety suffered and nobody seemed to notice or care.
Muilenburg is now the face of Boeing’s failure with the 737 MAX. Once it’s back in the air, he’ll be gone and someone new will step in to make sure nothing really changes.
A tweak here and a tweak there maybe, but the bottom line is still how much it costs and how much can they make?