Dennis Muilenburg
Dennis Muilenburg

Boeing turned to Sard Verbinnen for crisis support in the days following the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, according to the New York Times.

The aerospace giant had been roundly criticized for its slow and lackluster response to the crisis, keeping its well-connected CEO Dennis Muilenburg out of sight as countries throughout the world banned 737 Max planes from their airspaces and airlines grounded fleets.

Richard Levick, DC crisis pro, told the Times that Boeing's initial response was "very engineering-esque," and lacked a "human face."

He faulted Boeing for responding to the crisis as a "business-to-business company, rather than a business-to-consumer" issue. "Consumers now care about what plane they are on," said Levick.

The Times noted that Boeing, which keeps SVB on retainer, has become more assertive since the New York-based firm took command of the response to the 737 Max crash.

Muilenburg released a statement and video on March 18 to express regret for the Ethiopian and October Lion Air Flight 610 crashes and emphasized the company's commitment to safety.

The company followed up with full-page ads in the NYT, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

The Senate kicks off hearings today on aviation safety. Boeing is now engaged in a "charm offensive" with customers and news media to discuss changes made to the 737 Max, reported the Times.

SVB has not responded for comment.