Two horrific crashes that occurred within months of each other had everyone questioning the flight manufacturing company, Boeing. Netflix’s ‘Downfall: The Case Against Boeing’ dives into all the issues that led to Boeing’s 737 Max 8 and the sensor system that was at the center of these crashes. In the wake of the damages done, Dennis Muilenburg, then the CEO of Boeing, was in the firing line and went on to testify in front of Congress during a probe into the two planes that went down. So, if you’re wondering what happened to him since then, here’s what we know.
Who is Dennis Muilenburg?
Dennis grew up in Iowa and began his career as an intern in Boeing in 1985. After working within the company in various roles and departments, he became the CEO of Boeing in July 2015. By then, Dennis was already the President and served as Chairman as well. By 2019, his three-decade-plus tenure at the company ended with heavy scrutiny from customers and shareholders after two crashes that garnered international headlines.
In October 2018, a Lion Air flight went down minutes after taking off, crashing into the Java Sea off Indonesia. Just months later, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed into the ground similarly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Both companies used the same plane, the Boeing 737 Max 8, and crashed under similar circumstances.
The total number of casualties was close to 350 people. Investigators learned that the pilots had difficulty controlling the MCAS, a program that erroneously caused the flight’s noses to go down once the angle-of-attack sensors started malfunctioning. The faulty readings resulted in a series of events that ultimately caused the planes to crash. After these two catastrophes, Dennis testified that the plane, as per the company, was still safe to fly with additional pilot training and said grounding the aircraft was not required until more data was available.
However, multiple other countries decided to ground the planes owing to safety concerns. During the congressional hearing, a senator stated that Boeing lobbied regulators to keep information regarding MCAS from the pilot manuals and training. The investigation centered on whether the company downplayed safety risks with the system to put out a product faster, owing to competitive pressure. Internal company communications showed that a test pilot reported problems with the MCAS as early as 2016.
Where is Dennis Muilenburg Now?
Dennis’ response to the crashes was criticized at the time. After being removed as the chairman of the company in October 2019, he was fired from the position of CEO in December of the same year. Dennis received more than $60 million in benefits as a result. He has since resurfaced as the CEO of New Vista Acquisition, which many have called a “blank check company,” and serves as a venture advisor for a venture capital firm. From what we can tell, Dennis lives with his family in Iowa.
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