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Boeing CEO: "I thought about" quitting after 737 Max crashes

Boeing CEO faces victims' families on Capitol Hill

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said Wednesday he had considered resigning after two of his company's 737 Max craft crashed within five months, killing 346 passengers. He ultimately decided against it.

"It is fair to say I have thought about it," Muilenburg said at the New York Times annual DealBook Conference in response to a question about whether he would leave the company. "But to be frank that's not what's in my character."

Muilenburg, 55, said he has no plans to leave the company, either now or after the 737 Max craft is certified to fly again. The troubled jetliner has been grounded worldwide since shortly after its second deadly crash, in Ethiopia last March. He said he expects to still be the CEO of Boeing three years from now. "As long as the board allows me to serve in this role, I am going to put everything into it that I can," he said.

Muilenburg also said he would give up "tens of millions of dollars ultimately" in bonus payments in connection with the 737 Max problems. He said Boeing's board was considering including the safety performance of its planes in what determines future executive bonuses and also in the situations when the company could conceivably claw back past executive pay. Last week, a Boeing spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch that executive compensation incentives were not part of the board's safety review this year following the second crash.

On Tuesday, Boeing's new chairman David Calhoun told CNBC that Muilenburg had called him Saturday morning and offered to decline any bonus for 2019, as well as forgo any stock-based bonus until all of the customer and regulator issues the company is having with its 737 Max woes are behind it. Boeing previously has said that might not be until 2021. 

Muilenburg said on Wednesday that the Boeing board had met over the weekend to discuss his pay. The board has not made any official announcements about what Muilenburg will get paid in 2019 after last year making total cash and stock compensation valued at $23 million

Earlier this year, Muilenburg informed employees the company would pay no bonuses in 2019.

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