John Hamilton, left, chief engineer of Boeings Commercial Airplanes division, and Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, testify during the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing examining the design, development, and marketing, of the Boeing 737 Max jet in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, October 30, 2019.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief engineer John Hamilton , who was leading the response to the 737 Max crisis, is retiring, CNBC confirmed Wednesday.
The new head of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Stan Deal, and Boeing’s chief engineer, Greg Hyslop broke the news in an internal memo to employees:
“John had planned to retire last year, but we asked him to stay on to help us with the 737 Max investigations and return to service efforts … We are immensely grateful to John for lending his expertise and leadership during a very challenging time.”
The Seattle Times was the first to report the news.
Lynne Hopper, vice president of Engineering for Commercial Airplanes, will take over the chief engineer role, and will continue to support Boeing’s Max efforts, the company said.
In a statement to CNBC, Deal and Hyslop said Hamilton has “exemplified” Boeing’s “values of safety, quality, and integrity” throughout his 35 years at the company. “Now, after a career dedicated to excellence, John is retiring,” their statement said. “His guidance over the past year caps an outstanding career that covered multiple programs and functions, including serving as chief project engineer for the 757, Next-Generation 737 and P-8A, leading the Aviation Safety organization, and finally as the BCA Engineering leader. John’s strong commitment to safety will be one of his lasting legacies.”
Hamilton testified before Congress along with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who was removed by the company’s board as chairman in October so he can focus on running the company after the 737 Max crisis.
The Federal Aviation Administration is planning to review hundreds of new Boeing 737 Max planes individually before they can be delivered to customers, an added wrinkle into the already-delayed certification of the jetliners, grounded since mid-March after two fatal crashes.
Boeing executives have repeatedly said they expect regulators to sign off on the planes this quarter. On Nov. 11, Boeing said deliveries could resume as early as this month, a forecast that investors applauded. But the FAA and its administrator, Steve Dickson, continue to say that the FAA has no set timeline to allow the planes to return to market, setting up a public tug of war between the manufacturer and the agency.
United Airlines on Tuesday announced an order for 50 long-range Airbus jets, handing another victory from a U.S. airline to Boeing’s European rival.
The carrier is the latest of several U.S. airlines to opt for the planes. JetBlue and American Airlines have both agreed to order some of the long-range single-aisle planes that Airbus is developing.