Calhoun said: "He has set us up for a return to service".
Calhoun acknowledged that some of Boeing's assumptions in the development of the MAX were faulty but hit back at suggestions that the company cut corners and compromised safety.
'Mr. Muilenburg's answers to our questions were consistent with a culture of concealment and opaqueness and reflected the huge pressure exerted on Boeing employees during the development and production of the 737 Max, ' said Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Transportation Committee and Rick Larsen, D-Wash., chairman of the aviation subcommittee.
The company on October 11 stripped Muilenburg of the chairman title-replacing him with Calhoun-even as he was saved on as CEO and as a member of the board.
Speaking to House and Senate lawmakers across two days of contentious hearings last week, Muilenburg was grilled on his pay, and urged to take a pay cut by some.
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"It was a significant move on his part", Calhoun said.
"No one was hiding anything".
The board gave that job to Calhoun, a senior executive at the private equity firm Blackstone who previously led General Electric's jet-engine business and was reported to be in the running for Boeing CEO more than a decade ago. "And our occupation now is to make confident that whatever processes we had, whichever system our regulator has, that those procedures under no circumstances make it possible for for this to at any time materialize all over again".
He said the 737 Max might not return to service "in its entirety" until 2021.
Calhoun also told CNBC Muilenburg that listened to every story throughout his congressional questioning, including those from families of victims.
Boeing will work to compensate customers for the disruption caused by the grounding, Calhoun said in response to questions about recent criticism from the CEOs of Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc.
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The protests were initially sparked by a now-abandoned plan to allow extraditions to the authoritarian mainland. Police fired tear gas in other neighbourhoods while protesters lobbed petrol bombs and bricks at the officers.
While Boeing could take steps to strengthen the visibility of its commitment to safety, "I do not believe that this instance is indicative of a cultural problem", he said.
Muilenburg suggested scrapping the bonus on November 2, Calhoun said, days after an appearance in Congress in which angry lawmakers and the relatives of crash victims questioned his compensation.
In 2018, Muilenburg's total compensation package was $23.4 million, according to a securities filing.
According to Boeing's 2019 proxy statement to shareholders, Muilenburg made $23 million past year, $13.1 million of it from a company performance bonus and another $7.3 million from stock awards.
Shares of Boeing rose 2.1 per cent to $358.29.
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