The head of Boeing’s 737 program, Eric Lindblad, is set to retire, Boeing announced to employees on Thursday afternoon. Sources confirmed the announcement to Business Insider.
The Boeing executive’s resignation will trigger a leadership shakeup for both the 737 program and the proposed new midrange aircraft, also referred to as the “New Midsize Airplane,” or “NMA,” that Boeing is developing to replace the aging 757.
According to his LinkedIn profile page, Lindblad, who has worked at Boeing for 34 years, took over the 737 program in September, as Boeing was in the middle of delivering orders of the 737 Max, the highly anticipated next generation of its venerable 737 workhorse.
Lindblad’s retirement is reportedly unrelated to the ongoing crisis at Boeing caused by two deadly crashes involving the 737 Max aircraft. According to sources at Boeing, Lindblad originally planned to retire in 2018, but agreed to postpone his retirement to oversee the program. At the time leading up to Lindblad’s taking over, Boeing was struggling to meet production and delivery targets for the 737.
The collective global fleet of 737 Max aircraft has been grounded worldwide, following the discovery of major flaws in an automated system Boeing designed to augment the new larger engines that the Max featured on its airframe, which was essentially unaltered from the previous generation of the 737.
Boeing’s single-aisle program, which includes the 737 and the NMA, will be run by Mark Jenks, Bloomberg reported.
The timely design and unveiling of the NMA has taken on new urgency after rival Airbus announced its new A321LXR at last month’s Paris Air Show, securing about 200 orders by show’s end.
Boeing did not immediately return a request for comment.