Boeing names new head of crucial 737 MAX program: memo

FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 MAX 7 aircraft lands during an evaluation flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co has named veteran engineer Ed Clark to be the head of its 737 MAX jetliner program, according to internal memo sent to employees on Friday.

Replacing Walt Odisho, who is retiring after being plucked from the auto industry to help Boeing boost productivity, Clark steps into the role as the U.S. planemaker works to clear an inventory of hundreds of 737 MAX aircraft and rebuild its image with passengers after the nearly two-year MAX grounding following fatal crashes.

This week marked the second anniversary of the second accident, in Ethiopia, with a final investigative report expected any day.

Clark, who was chief mechanic and engineer for Boeing’s cash cow narrowbody program, will run the sprawling manufacturing hub at Renton, Washington.

Clark is the fifth person in four years to take the helm of the program, which has over the years grappled with quality shortfalls, parts shortages and then the safety ban following the crashes.

Mark Jenks, vice president in charge of airplane programs, announced the change in a Friday memo to employees.

The move was reported earlier by Bloomberg.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Marguerita Choy