Boeing to replace head of troubled 737 Max program

Boeing is replacing the head of its troubled 737 Max program after a door panel (pictured) fell off of one of its planes, according to news reports. File Photo courtesy of NTSB/UPI

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Boeing announced Wednesday that it is replacing 737 Max program head Ed Clark amid new concerns about the passenger aircraft.

The 737 Max came under renewed scrutiny following a malfunction on an Alaska Airlines flight in January in which a door panel blew off and resulted in the grounding of the airline's fleet of 65 737 Max aircraft.

A preliminary investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration found that issues with bolts meant to hold the 737's door plug in place caused the malfunction and it grounded models with similar features.

"I am announcing several leadership changes as we continue driving BCA's enhanced focus on ensuring that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements," said Boeing Commercial Airplane Unit CEO Stan Deal wrote in a memo to employees, according to CNBC.

Deal told employees, "Ed departs with my, and our, deepest gratitude."

Clark will be replaced by Katie Ringgold, who will be in charge of the 737 program.

Additionally, Elizabeth Lund will be appointed to senior vice president of quality for the Commercial Airplane Unit, a position that recently was created, according to CNBC.

In January, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun reportedly said the company is "accountable for what happened," during an earnings call.

Two airline disasters, Lion Air Flight 610 in 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in 2019, resulted in the international grounding of the 737 Max for nearly two years.