Boeing 737 MAX Safety Oversight

Issue: 6 / 2021

The current and former Directors of Boeing have reached a $237.5 million proposed settlement with shareholders to settle a lawsuit over the safety oversight of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Following two fatal crashes in five months in 2018-19 that killed 346 people, Boeing’s best selling plane was grounded for 20 months and returned to service after the company made significant software and training improvements. Under the settlement, Boeing would amend its bylaws to require the separation of the CEO and Board chair positions, create for at least five years an ombudsperson programme to provide Boeing employees conducting airplane certification work for the Federal Aviation Administration with a way to raise work-related concerns.

The settlement would also require Boeing to provide annual public reports on safety-related enhancements implemented by the plane maker since the MAX air disasters. The financial penalty is to be paid by insurers to Boeing. Under the settlement, Boeing’s current and former directors do not admit wrongdoing and assert they were acting in what they believed was in the best interests of Boeing and its stockholders. Boeing confirmed the settlement and said “Boeing has taken significant actions to reinforce and strengthen our commitment to aviation safety” since the crashes. The settlement, it added “builds on those actions with additional oversight and governance reforms that will further advance safety and quality in the work that we do.”