Dennis Muilenburg's elevation to the top job in a company, where he started off as an intern, shows that company loyalty can still pay off.
In a span of 30 years, Muilenburg, 51, an aeronautical engineer and former intern at Boeing rose ranks to become the company's chief executive on July 1, 2015.
Before his July promotion, when Muilenburg, succeeded James McNerney as the tenth CEO in the company's history, he also served as Boeing's Chief Operating Officer (COO) and vice chairman.
Muilenburg received a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University and a master's in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Washington before joining the Chicago-based airplane maker in 1985.
According to a Forbes report, as head of Boeing Defense Systems (one of its two main divisions), the unit won a contract to build a new refuelling tanker for the Air Force and drafted a strategy to absorb defense budget cuts.
Forbes contributor Loren Thompson, who has dealt with Muilenburg through Thompson's Lexington Institute think tank, describes Muilenburg as "focused and hyper-competitive," with an affinity for sports and exercise, especially cycling. "There is an intensity to his personality that one seldom encounters elsewhere in the button-down aerospace sector," says Thompson.
On Twitter Muilenburg refers himself as, "A former Boeing intern, current Boeing CEO, lifelong aerospace enthusiast, proud Iowan and an avid cyclist".
Boeing software update
Yesterday the CEO joined the pilots during a 737 MAX 7 demo flight to experience the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software update as the company takes major focus to upgrade its software following worldwide grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 after Lion Air and Ethiopian plane crashes that killed 350 people in total.
Boeing says flight control law was designed and certified for the 737 MAX to enhance the pitch stability of the airplane so that it feels and flies like other 737s.
"MCAS is designed to activate in manual flight, with the airplane's flaps up, at an elevated Angle of Attack (AOA)," the company reports.