Ed Clark, vice president of the MAX program and general manager at the Renton facility, will leave the company. He’s being replaced by Katie Ringgold, the current vice president 737 delivery operations.

Ed Clark, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program, speaks to employees in Renton during a one-day work stoppage last month to discuss ways to improve quality on the production line. Clark is leaving the company. (Courtesy of Boeing )

Boeing ousts 737 MAX chief in shake-up as blowout fallout mounts

Boeing has ousted the leader of the 737 MAX program at its Renton plant and reshuffled its leadership team at the Commercial Airplanes division, effective immediately.

The moves come more than a month after a Renton-assembled MAX 9 saw a fuselage panel blow out off an Alaska Airlines flight departing Portland. Investigators contend key bolts were missing from the plane prior to the Jan. 5 blowout, a failure that has increased scrutiny of quality control at Boeing and its suppliers and put intense pressure on company leadership.

Ed Clark, vice president of the MAX program and general manager at the Renton facility, will leave the company. He’s being replaced by Katie Ringgold, the current vice president 737 delivery operations.


The changes were announced Wednesday morning in an email to employees by Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Stan Deal.

Deal wrote that the leadership changes are intended to drive Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ “enhanced focus on ensuring that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements.”

Clark took charge of the MAX program in 2021 as it returned to service after two fatal crashes had grounded the jets worldwide for almost two years. He was responsible for 737 engineering, supply chain, manufacturing and other support functions.

Deal wrote in his note that Clark “departs with my, and our, deepest gratitude for his many significant contributions over nearly 18 years of dedicated service to Boeing.”

However, a person familiar with the decision and who asked not to be identified commenting on sensitive personnel decisions, confirmed that Clark’s leaving was not voluntary.

Clark is an engineer. His successor Ringgold has business degrees. However she began her aviation career performing avionics systems maintenance and troubleshooting on C-130 aircraft in the United States Air Force.

Ringgold joined Boeing in 2011 at the company’s North Charleston, S.C., production facility, where she rose to become a Senior Quality Manager.

She transferred to the Puget Sound region in 2019, where she was responsible for jet deliveries from all Boeing Commercial delivery centers in Seattle, Everett, North Charleston and Zhoushan, China.

She then became vice president of 737 Delivery Operations with responsibility for deliveries to customers from Seattle, as well as pre-delivery flights in Renton and oversight and care of the parked MAXs stored at Moses Lake, Seattle Plant 2 and San Antonio.

In addition to that change at the top of the MAX program, Deal shuffled the appointments of two senior Commercial Airplanes leaders, Elizabeth Lund and Mike Fleming.

Lund, who currently heads all airplane programs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, has been named to the new position of senior vice president for BCA Quality, where she will lead quality control efforts.

Lund will continue reporting to Deal and serving on the company’s executive council. Carole Murray, the current vice president of Quality, will now report to Lund, “on special assignment, to ensure a smooth transition,” Deal wrote in his message.

Mike Fleming, who led the 737 MAX return-to-service push after the two fatal crashes and has since then led the drive to certify the MAX 7 and MAX 10, has been promoted to replace Lund as senior vice president and general manager of all Boeing Commercial airplane programs. He’ll oversee 737, 767, 777/777X, and 787 production, reporting to Deal.

Deal said Don Ruhmann, who was 787 chief project engineer, is succeeding Fleming in his former role.

Deal wrote that replacements for the positions vacated by Ringgold and Ruhmann will be named later.

(c) Seattle Times