David L. Calhoun, born on April 18, 1957, in Philadelphia, is an American business magnate who has been at the helm of The Boeing Company since January 2020, serving as its President and Chief Executive Officer. Boeing, a global aerospace powerhouse, is a key player in commercial airplanes, defense, space, security systems, and global services, with over 150,000 employees worldwide.
A varied and successful career has marked Calhoun's ascent to the top levels of the corporate world. Raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, he attended Parkland High School, where he excelled not only academically but also as a leader on the varsity basketball team and as a golfer. His commitment to academics and sports laid the foundation for future success.
Upon graduating from Virginia Tech in 1979 with a degree in accounting, Calhoun embarked on a remarkable career trajectory. His initial professional stint was with General Electric (GE), where he spent an impressive 26 years in various roles, eventually becoming Vice Chairman of the company and President and CEO of GE Infrastructure, its largest business unit.
In 2006, he transitioned to Nielsen Holdings, a global information services firm, as its Chief Executive Officer. Under his leadership, the company underwent a significant transformation, rebranding itself and eventually becoming a publicly listed company in 2011. Nielsen's inclusion in the S&P 500 Index in 2013 was a testament to Calhoun's strategic acumen.
Calhoun's contributions extend beyond the corporate realm. He served as the Executive Chairman of the Board for Nielsen Holdings and played a pivotal role at The Blackstone Group as Senior Managing Director and Head of Private Equity Portfolio Operations. His multifaceted experience equipped him with extensive expertise in strategic, business, safety, and regulatory matters.
Since 2009, he has been associated with Boeing, initially as a member of the Board of Directors. In 2018, he took on the role of lead independent director, and in January 2020, he assumed the responsibilities of president and CEO, succeeding Dennis Muilenburg. His tenure faced significant challenges, notably the 737 MAX crisis, where safety concerns led to a change in leadership.
Despite the challenges, Calhoun's leadership has been characterized by resilience and a commitment to navigating Boeing through turbulent times. In 2020, Boeing reported a substantial loss and significant workforce reductions, yet Calhoun earned $21.1 million in compensation.
Beyond his corporate responsibilities, Calhoun is actively involved in philanthropy. In 2018, he generously donated $20 million to Virginia Tech to establish the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program, showcasing his commitment to education.
Calhoun's life is a narrative of determination, leadership, and adaptability. From his early years in Pennsylvania to steering one of the world's foremost aerospace companies, his journey exemplifies the impact of strategic vision and steadfast leadership.