The right path is the opposite of the Muilenburg path, which, for lack of better term, is the same as the President Nixon path leading up to his resignation.
It is extraordinary that Boeing's (BA) board allowed Dennis Muilenburg to adopt the Nixon playbook which was to stall, obfuscate, be imperial, be in denial and to watch haplessly as leak after leak appeared, each one more devastating than the last until the whole ship did not stand a chance to make it.
Nixon had mostly peacetime advisors who were way over their heads but pretended to be crisis managers nonetheless and their retributive ways remind me very much of the way President Trump handles his vassals, the difference being there is no Fox News to verify in an uber Fourth Estate style.
What's the way out?
It's not easy.
First, you need a multi-pronged attack. You need to bring in the single most respected MILITARY figure that can be found. As someone who just visited the U.S. Air Force Academy and found it a rigorous institution run with an iron yet creative hand, I would suggest the just retired Commandant Lt. General Jay Silveria, a stern hand and pilot who has flown 3900 hours in the best of our best aircraft. The level of knowledge, skill and bearing he has will be needed if the plane is to ever fly again.
Second, I would bring in Ted Wells, an attorney at Paul Weiss who is the premier investigator of our time and if you Google him you will see that he and his firm simply can't be bought. They don't want the business of Boeing and can be trusted to put an end to the endless leaks. You need a wartime consigliere so to speak, someone who has the bearing of someone who doesn't work for the CEO but works for the board.
Third, Dennis Muilenburg should be advised to get his own counsel as, if I am right, the Justice Department will have to be involved because this may not be a civil matter judging from the leaks that we see. I may take heat even suggesting such an action but I don't play for my proverbial dinner so I will do so. It's just better this way as the Boeing board will rather soon find out.
Fourth, I think Boeing has to come up with a plan B which is the rebuilding if not destruction of the 737 Max, because, sadly but true, no one is ever going to want to try it again. Let's just own that. No one says it but the idea that it is just a "software fix" is not conceivable at this time. A rebuilt plane with three redundancies is a necessity or a switch to the simple, for lack of a better term, analogue system that is similar to Airbus may have to be put in the engine. We all know that it is not enough to have Boeing execs running around saying they have flown it. I wanted to be the first to fly it and do so with film crew if possible but I got more resistance from my wife, Lisa, than I did the possibility of jumping solo at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The destruction of the 737 Max engine lock, stock and barrel will damage cash flows of the company, and its balance sheet will be sorely tested but who the heck wants to get on one of these anyway and judging by the order switching from long-standing clients, it really is the only way to go. I know some might find this to require cancelling the dividend, others may say it could cause a government intervention, but, again, the company must be preserved for the gem it is for our nation.
Finally, the top executives who dissented and the ones who most feared the retribution of Muilenburg will have to be brought back as a committee to be a second group of experts to check off on the planes because the FAA is no longer trusted. Fact of life: most people I know believe the FAA has been discredited. Let's just forget them as a force as the foreign equivalents of the FAA aren't going to accept the judgment of Boeing. They won't check off because the new CEO, David Calhoun, was a director on the board and will be considered compromised for having checked off on the plane - even, sadly if he didn't even know about it and got his information from the former CEO, but that's the way the conventional press works and Calhoun is a finance guy, which is great only for the numbers not for the certification. Don't get me wrong, I think he is fine, and given the soon-to-be stretched cash flows, is even necessary, but that's not what the conventional press will ever say.
Boeing's CEO must hold a press conference to be run by a true crisis manager not these current folks who are over their heads for certain. I apologize in advance to them who will probably hate me for saying it. But I have been around long enough to know bad crisis managers and Boeing seems to almost specialize in them. Boeing will have to give us daily updates of what's been done to rip out the engines and the system that drives them. Then the planes simply aren't the 737 Max. They will be the 737 plain or a new number. Anything but what they currently call it.
We will all be willing to fly a brand new plane that has triple redundancy and nothing to do with what killed so many people.
I know these methods are harsh if not extreme. I don't know if the current Boeing can afford my plan. They are worst case scenario. But, like the Nixon administration, the Muilenburg institution had zero transparency. With my plan that ends immediately upon implementation. We will know the cash flows; they will tell us. They will stop saying the fix is around the corner. The crew I am mentioning to run it would rather quit than say that.
Now, why is it best to go my way. It beats Justice Department criminal proceedings, as Dennis will have his own counsel to negotiate that and won't have to be separated from Boeing counsel. His counsel will not be trusted if paid for by Dennis's bonus, which, of course, needs to be clawed back. Again, those who remember Nixon, my method is the opposite of the Nixon playbook.
Would it shock me if this plan is enacted? Probably. But it is totally the opposite of what occurred back in 1974 and 1996. My method expedites the end of Boeing's long corporate nightmare and I look forward to prosecuting it when I return.