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Boeing names new government operations chief

Boeing Co (BA.N) named a former senior Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Softbank (9434.T) executive as its head of government affairs as the company continues to deal with the fallout from two fatal 737 MAX crashes.

Ziad Ojakli, who also served as an aide to former U.S. President George W. Bush, will be Boeing’s executive vice president of government operations effective Oct. 1, the company confirmed. Reuters reported the planned announcement earlier on Thursday.

Boeing in June announced its long-time government affairs chief Tim Keating was abruptly leaving without giving a reason.

Ojakli will lead Boeing’s public policy efforts, serve as chief lobbyist and oversee Boeing Global Engagement, the company’s global philanthropic organization.

“His broad experience serving in executive roles in government and the private sector will contribute to our engagement with our stakeholders as we continue our focus on safety, quality and transparency, and transforming our company for the future,” Boeing Chief Execuive Dave Calhoun said in a statement.

Boeing still faces significant scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. lawmakers. In January, Boeing was charged by the Justice Department with 737 MAX fraud conspiracy and agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement and settlement worth more than $2.5 billion.

Earlier this month, a Delaware judge ruled Boeing’s board of directors must face a lawsuit from shareholders over the MAX crashes that led to the plane’s 20-month grounding and cost Boeing some $20 billion.

In May, two key U.S. lawmakers sought records from Boeing and the FAA on production issues involving the 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner. Boeing has halted deliveries of the 787 as it works to address manufacturing quality issues.

Ojakli served as the managing partner and senior vice president of Softbank from 2018-20, where he created its first global government affairs operation after spending 14 years at Ford, the second largest U.S. automaker.