‘Empty Executive Suite’: Boeing Insider Lays Out Company’s Descent Into Diversity Obsession

By Published on April 5, 2024

In an interview published Wednesday in the City Journal, journalist Christopher Rufo talked to a Boeing insider who blamed the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies as well as a disconnect with upper leadership for Boeing’s current woes.

The unnamed insider alleges that safety issues are the result of the company prioritizing hiring employees based on DEI policies and not on qualifications, leading to quality issues that have endangered lives and hurt the company, according to City Journal. Boeing has been under intense public scrutiny in recent months after a series of safety issues, leading Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to announce in late March that he will be stepping down from his post at the end of 2024.

The insider points out that some companies can get away with hiring workers based on DEI principles, such as tech companies, by paying diverse applicants more to ensure quality, but companies like Boeing do not have that ability.

“But this can be catastrophic in lower-margin or legacy companies,” the insider said in the interview. “You are playing musical chairs, and if you do the same things that Google is doing, you are going to end up with the bottom 20% of the preferred population.”

The interview also drew attention to a lack of commitment and relation to the airplane industry that top executives possess, with the insider pointing to the current CEO and CFO having gained their experience at General Electric. Top executives are also disconnected from average workers at the company, who would rather not incorporate politics into business as DEI initiatives do.

“The headquarters in Arlington is empty,” the insider told Rufo. “Nobody lives there. It is an empty executive suite. The CEO lives in New Hampshire. The CFO lives in Connecticut. The head of HR lives in Orlando. We just instituted a policy that everyone has to come into work five days a week — except the executive council, which can use the private jets to travel to meetings. And that is the story: it is a company that is under caretakers. It is not under owners. And it is not under people who love airplanes.”

The most recent bout of scrutiny around Boeing began when a door flew off of a Boeing plane operated by Alaska Airlines in January, prompting a federal investigation. A preliminary report released in February about the incident found that the plane had no bolts upon take-off.

Boeing planes have a history of safety issues, most notably a pair of crashes that occurred in 2018 and 2019 that resulted in the deaths of 346 people, which prompted Congress to order an investigation. The investigation resulted in a report that was also released in February, which showed that there is a disconnect between the company’s senior management and lower members about safety culture.

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The insider noted that the crash of the 2018 Boeing plane was the result of an engineering failure, which then-CEO Dennis Muilenburg denied to Congress, defending the engineering of the plane, according to City Journal. The defense of the plane led to a large turnover at Boeing after changes were made at the company.

“Boeing is just a symptom of a much bigger problem: the failure of our elites,” the insider said in the interview. “The purpose of the company is now ‘broad stakeholder value,’ including DEI and ESG. This was then embraced as a means to power, which further separated the workforce from the company. And it is ripping our society apart. Boeing is the most visible example because every problem — like, say, a bolt that falls off — gets amplified.”

Many airlines have embraced DEI policies, including Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines. These airlines appear to focus on racial quotas when hiring.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

 

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