Malaysia Airlines (MAS) airplanes are still flying, as of today. However, operating with losses for years is not a good choice for the ailing airline.
The Restructuring Plan of Malaysia Airlines
Months ago, Khazanah Nasional, Malaysian government investment arm has outlined a masterplan to resuscitate MAS and bring it to profit again (the complete PDF version of 12-point plan can be found here). Since then, there have been rumors on the appointment of a non-Malaysian as the CEO of the NewCo, the new company that is supposed to take over MAS, also known as OldCo in the restructuring plan.
Mueller From Aer Lingus to NewCo
On December 5th, Khazanah announced the name of NewCo CEO-Designate, Mr. Christoph R. Mueller. Mr. Mueller is already a huge name in aviation industry for his experience in bringing Aer Lingus back to profitability some time ago. His contract with Aer Lingus will end on May 1st 2015 but discussions are ongoing for him to start his jo at NewCo before that date but no earlier than March 1st 2015.
Aer Lingus was once marred with huge loss in sombre Irish market and has recorded loss for years. Mr. Mueller managed to turn the 78-year old Irish airline into profitability witin a year despite difficult market environment that time.
Additional Leadership Announcements
Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly, current Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Celcom Axiata Berhad (Celcom), is appointed to the new MAS board as Non-Executive Director, effective January 1st 2015. Despite that, he will remain as the CEO and director of Celcom, a leading Malaysian telecommunications company.
Other positions announced including the one mentioned above:
- Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof (Non-Independent Non-Executive Chairman)
- Ahmad Jauhari Yahya (Managing Director/Group Chief Executive Officer)
- Christoph R. Mueller (Non-Executive Director/CEO-designate of MAS NewCo)
- David Lau Nai Pek (Senior Independent Non-Executive Director)
- Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah (Non-Independent Non-Executive Director)
- Mohd Shahazwan Mohd Harris (Non-Independent Non-Executive Director)
- Tan Sri Krishnan Tan Boon Seng (Independent Non-Executive Director)
- Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani (Independent Non-Executive
- Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman (Independent Non-Executive Director)
- Dr. Mohamadon Abdullah (Independent Non-Executive Director)
- Mohd Izani Ashari (Non-Independent Non-Executive Director)
- Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly (Non-Executive Director)
- Dato’ Fauziah Yaacob (Alternate Director to Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah / Non-Independent Non-Executive Director)
Response from Malaysians
Malaysians generally have mixed reviews with the appointment of Mueller. While many lauded that bld move to appoint a non-Malaysian in the top management of the new company, others see that a bit in a negative way and suggested that Khazanah should look into hiring a Malaysian for that post instead.
Malaysia Airlines has been known for its inefficiency, hence it has embroiled itself with years of losses. Other than inefficiency of aircraft and crew management, we were also shocked to learn about “intervention” by various parties with the ailing airline. As an independently-operated company, there should be no intervention other than the ones that are supposed to benefit the airline.
We also learned that MAS Employee Union (MASEU) has pledged its support to the new CEO-designate. We hope that other Malaysians will also support Khazanah’s noble intention to ensure the continuity of our flag carrier, Malaysia Airlines. In the meantime, some form of check-and-balance is required to ensure smooth operation of the new company, establishing the need for us to be more vigilant in supervising the new management team.
More information about the announcement can be found here.