April 19, 2024


Dave Calhoun is out as Boeing’s CEO. He’ll stick around until the end of the year, but he’ll be invested in the company for years to come.

“I want to assure you, we will remain squarely focused on completing the work we have done together to return our company to stability after the extraordinary challenges of the past five years,” he wrote to the company’s workers in a letter Monday. But it’s more than pride he has on the line. He has more than $51 million in stock options and grants riding on a turnaround.

Based on an analysis of insider stock transactions filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (specifically, Form 4), Calhoun has more than 200,000 restricted shares and options to buy shares that won’t start vesting until 2025 at the earliest. On top of that, he has options that he can exercise now but would lose money on if he can’t wait for Boeing’s stock price to recover from its current doldrums.

Though major-company executive pay packages frequently grab headlines for their size, that compensation is rarely in straight cash. Often, it’s given in stock, both as a means to keep money on hand and as an incentive for executives to do things that will generate shareholder value (aka make the stock price go up). That’s why the $55 billion pay package that a judge told Elon Musk he couldn’t have was worth so much: A lot of it was tied up in stock that was expected to become a lot more valuable by the time Musk could get his hands on it.

After Calhoun was installed as Boeing’s CEO, for example, the company granted him 31,345 shares in 2020 as compensation for options he gave up leaving his previous job as senior managing director at Blackstone. Those shares, in turn, would come to him in three installments between 2021 and 2023.

On a couple occasions, he was also awarded stock options in addition to stock-as-compensation. One batch came in February 2021, about 107,000 shares that he had the option to buy at $258.83. The only problem? He wasn’t allowed to exercise the option until Feb. 17 of this year. Because of Boeing’s 737 Max troubles following a door plug blowout aboard an Alaska Airlines flight, the company’s stock is down more than 25%. On Feb. 20, the nearest business day, Boeing stock was trading at $203.55. Calhoun is currently underwater $67.42 apiece on those options, for a total of more than $7.2 million.

He’ll be waiting for the price on those shares to go up, plus he still has other stock awards that won’t come to him until 10 years after he leaves the company, or 2034.



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