Bellew Departs, MAB to Find New CEO Today

20th Oct 2017

The sudden departure of Peter Bellew for Ryanair has left the Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) ship without their captain, but the carrier was apparently quick to react and a new chief executive officer could be named even today, media in Malaysia report.

According to StarBiz, the Malaysia Airlines board will meet today to name the replacement for Mr. Bellew and a new CEO.

According to a source close to the airline, MAB is this time not looking for another foreigner, but will instead hire a Malaysian. The source was quoted as saying:

They (the board) are looking at some internal candidates but certainly the mood is not to hire another foreigner. There are enough Malaysians who can do the job, it is a matter of sourcing for the right one. This is a good opportunity to show that Malaysians can do it.

It is said that the top candidates for the position at the moment are MAB’s Chief Operating Officer Izham Ismail, Chief Financial Officer Omar Siddiq Amin Noer Rashid and MRT Corp. Chief Executive Officer Shahril Mokhtar.

However, the list of candidates is of course longer and they all first must be approved by the MAB’s major shareholders, the Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Malaysian government.

Two of the front-runners, COO Captain Izham Ismail and CFO Omar Siddiq wrote a joint internal email in which they said:

We urge you to remain focused and be assured that the turnaround remains on track and on schedule, and part of the MAS recovery plan and as always, the company will remain resilient in the face of such challenges.

Their message was repeated by Malaysia Airlines Chairman Md Nor Md Yusuf, who said in an email to the staff in which he said that the MAB family remains intact and “will overcome this together”.

Bellew departed Malaysia Airlines earlier this week and Ryanair announced his appointment on Tuesday. He will take the position of the chief operating officer on 1st December this year.

Bellew said this was a “form of national service”.

He became MAB CEO on 1st July, 2016, after taking over from Christoph Mueller. His contract lasted for two more years.

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