A Boeing 737 Max 7 aircraft lands during an evaluation flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, September 30, 2020.
Lindsey Wasson | Reuters
Boeing will pay $200 million and then-CEO Dennis Muilenburg $1 million to settle charges related to misleading investors in the wake of two fatal 737 Max crashes, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday.
“In times of crisis and tragedy, it is especially important that public companies and CEOs provide full, fair and honest disclosures to the markets. Boeing and its former CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, failed in this fundamental commitment,” SEC President Gary Gensler said in a statement.
The two accidents – one in October 2018 and the other in March 2019 – killed all 346 people on board the two flights, and ground the two planes worldwide. The grounding was first lifted in late 2020.
Boeing fired Muilenberg in December 2019 in the midst of extended grounding and comments about when it expected regulators to evacuate planes in order to fly again. The comments also soured the manufacturer’s relationship with the FAA, leading to a public warning by the regulator.
“Today’s settlement is part of the company’s broader efforts to responsibly resolve the outstanding legal issues related to the 737 Max accidents in a way that serves the interests of our shareholders, employees and other stakeholders,” Boeing said in a statement.
The agency said neither Boeing nor Muilenburg acknowledged the SEC’s findings, but did not deny them.
In January 2021, Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle a criminal investigation with the Department of Justice over the aircraft.
Two investigations indebted to Congress after the accidents found administrative, design, and regulatory gaps in the development and approval of the 737 MAX. This led to new legislation to reform aircraft certification, giving more control over the process to the Federal Aviation Administration.