Saturday, March 24, 2012

Former Navy Chief Joins Boeing Board: Retired Navy admiral John Richardson’s election is part of the broader effort to improve its plane maker’s safety culture

Retired Navy admiral John Richardson, a former submarine commander, will join the Boeing board’s aerospace safety committee. 

Boeing said Friday that the former military head of the U.S. Navy has been elected to its board, part of a broader effort to improve the plane maker’s safety oversight.

Retired Navy admiral John Richardson stepped down in August as chief of naval operations, with the final part of his career dominated by reviews of Navy safety, training and readiness after two at-sea collisions killed 17 sailors.

Boeing recently amended its governance rules to make safety-related experience a criterion for choosing future directors as part of a board review of its engineering and internal reporting practices overseen by Edmund Giambastiani Jr. , a retired U.S. Navy admiral who sits on the company’s board.

Mr. Richardson, a former submarine commander, will join the Boeing board’s aerospace safety committee, alongside Mr. Giambastiani. Other members include Duke Energy Corp. CEO Lynn Good and Larry Kellner, who led one of the predecessor companies of United Airlines Holdings Inc. UAL -0.73%

“Admiral Richardson has distinguished himself as an exceptional leader with broad operational capabilities and deep expertise in developing and implementing rigorous safety policies and procedures in mission-critical environments,” said Boeing Chairman David Calhoun in a statement.

The twin collisions involving Navy vessels in 2017 cost some high-ranking naval officials their careers, but Adm. Richardson retained the confidence of the Navy’s civilian leadership.

The official Navy investigation and an outside probe into collisions with other vessels involving the USS John. McCain and USS Fitzgerald said they were avoidable and included failures in navigation as well as broader cultural problems that extend beyond the Pacific-focused Seventh Fleet.