CHICAGO — Boeing's chief communications officer Ed Dandridge — the sixth person to hold the aerospace and defense giant’s top comms job since 2017 — has departed the company.

"Our priorities change according to our changing circumstances, and Ed Dandridge, senior vice president, Chief Communications Officer and member of our executive council, has informed me and his team that because of issues that have recently arisen, his first priority right now needs to be his family. I respect Ed and I respect this decision,” president and CEO David Calhoun wrote in a staff member first published by Reuters.

“In his nearly two years leading our communications team, Ed helped us to continue to rebuild trust and work through the profound societal and global disruptions that significantly impacted our industry. I am deeply grateful to Ed for his dedicated services to our company during a challenging time, and I wish him and his family all the best,” Calhoun wrote.

Corporate comms VP Ann Schmidt will lead Boeing’s communications team until Dandridge’s successor is hired.

Dandridge joined Boeing less than two years ago from insurance giant AIG, where he spent the two-plus years as chief marketing and communications officer.

Dandridge succeeded executive VP and chief financial officer Greg Smith, who hasdbeen serving as interim CCO since the July resignation of Niel Golightly. Golightly left Boeing after just six months in the role after an employee complained about a letter he wrote in 1987 saying women should not be in combat.

Golightly had replaced Anne Toulouse, who retired at the end of 2019 after a three-decade career with Boeing. Toulouse had stepped into the role in September 2018 when Phil Musser, citing family reasons, left Boeing a year after being hired after longtime communications chief Tom Downey retired in 2017.

Boeing suffered major reputational and financial crises after two of its 737 Max jets crashed within five months of each other in 2018 and 2019. The crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia cost 346 people their lives; By early 2020, Boeing had already lost nearly $19 billion from the grounding of those jets.

Boeing registered its third consecutive year of losses in 2021, as its problems were compounded by Covid, order cancellations and the inability to deliver its 787 Dreamliner jet due to flaws in manufacturing.