Boeing Severs Ties With Lobbying Firm Involved In 737 Max Crisis Management: Report (CORRECTED)

Editor’s note: The headline of this story has been corrected to fix a spelling error.

In a strategic shift, Boeing Co. BA reportedly parted ways with the lobbying firm that played a pivotal role during one of the company’s most challenging periods.

What Happened: Boeing ended its contract with Cornerstone Government Affairs, the lobbying firm that assisted the aerospace giant during the 737 Max disaster, in February, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

The decision to cut ties in February was made by Ziad "Z" Ojakli, Boeing’s chief lobbyist, after learning that Cornerstone had taken on Sierra Space Corp., a client now represented by Ojakli’s predecessor, Tim Keating. This move comes amid Boeing’s efforts to revamp its leadership and lobbying strategies following the fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.

The leadership overhaul at Boeing began with CEO Dave Calhoun’s decision to replace Keating with Ojakli, a former lobbyist for Ford Motor Co., in 2021. The transition has reportedly been challenging, with new hires still adjusting to the aerospace sector and struggling to establish connections with key lawmakers.

At the time of publishing, Boeing and Cornerstone have yet to comment on the matter to Benzinga.

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In 2023, Boeing reportedly invested $14.4 million in lobbying efforts and maintains a robust team of over 100 lobbyists and 17 government affairs firms. Its political action committee is currently the second-largest in the U.S., based on Federal Election Commission data.

Why It Matters: Boeing’s decision to discontinue its relationship with Cornerstone Government Affairs is a significant move in the company’s ongoing efforts to navigate post-crisis recovery and restore its reputation. The aerospace manufacturer has faced a series of setbacks, including a recent incident involving a Delta Air Lines flight, where a Boeing 757 was reported to be “yawing aggressively,” prompting a return to Atlanta shortly after takeoff.

The company’s challenges are further compounded by a dip in commercial aircraft deliveries. Boeing’s first-quarter deliveries in 2024 fell significantly, with only 83 commercial aircraft delivered compared to 130 in the same period the previous year. This decline reflects ongoing industry turbulence and underscores the importance of Boeing’s strategic realignment, including its lobbying efforts.

As of Monday, Boeing stock closed at $167.82, indicating a drop of 1.02%, according to Benzinga Pro.

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