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Published on February 28, 2024
Boeing Board Rejects Shareholder Appeal to Return HQ to Seattle in Wake of 737 MAX ControversiesSource: Wikipedia/Bin im Garten, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Boeing's bigwigs have nixed a shareholder's push to pack up the aerospace giant's headquarters and send it back to its old Seattle home, reports show. The board of directors at Boeing decided against the proposal, which aimed to relocate the company's base in a bid to rebuild its tarnished reputation post-737 MAX tragedies and subsequent stock nose-dive. The Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer has been under intense scrutiny after an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 jet plopped a door plug mid-flight, according to Business Insider.

The Federal Aviation Administration, pulling back the curtain on its investigation into Boeing, has indicated there is "a disconnect between Boeing's senior management and other members of the organization on safety culture". Critics lay truckloads of blame on the company's decision to shift its headquarters to the Windy City in 2001, saying this marked the beginning of the end for Boeing's dominance. Last year, the company picked up stakes yet again, moving to Virginia though the 737 Max factory remains tethered to Seattle, a report from The Seattle Times stated.

The man behind the failed push, 83-year-old shareholder Walter Ryan who backs 10,000 shares approximately worth $2 million, told The Seattle Times he believes shuffling the HQ back to Seattle could send a "meaningful signal Boeing credibly intends to resume its position at the top of the commercial airplane business". Ryan, a retired business owner known for stirring the pot at corporate meetings, snapped up his shares post the initial 737 MAX crash, gambling on a quick recovery. Instead, his bet waned with Boeing's stock sinking by 40%.

Despite Ryan's fervent call for corporate change, the Boeing board in collaboration with the Securities and Exchange Commission decided to keep the proposal off the ballots at the upcoming annual general meeting (AGM). The decision was rooted in concerns over possible management disruptions, as elucidated in a report by BNN Breaking News. Ryan, in his exchange with The Seattle Times, lamented the state of affairs at Boeing, remarking, "It’s a shame that they took a company that was a first-class operation and drove it into the ground."

Boeing remains headquartered in Virginia, with no plans to pivot back to Seattle, despite the squashed bids coming from its shareholder. The aerospace behemoth has resisted the pressure, staying firm in its strategic geographic and corporate stance, amid ongoing analysis and criticism over its handling of past crises and the current state of its corporate culture.

Seattle-Transportation & Infrastructure