Christoph Mueller, Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer, has decided to resign after less than six month at the head of the company “due to a change in his personal circumstances”. No further explanation for this unexpected and sudden move has been provided by either Mueller or MAB.
Mueller, who prior to Malaysia Airlines worked at the Irish airline Aer Lingus, had a contract until 2018. He was the leading force in MAB’s restructuring program after the carrier suffered devastating financial losses in back-to-back years, in part due to strong competition, as well had two of its aircraft crash in a span of five months.
The now-former MAB CEO was, however, positive that the airline will be able to return to black by 2018, but maintained further reforms are needed if that is to be accomplished:
We have to change in some cases very, very radically the way we do our business, the way we work but also the way we work with each other.
Khazanah: We Respect Mueller’s Decision to Leave
Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the sole owner of MAB since its restructuring started, also had no comment regarding Mueller’s departure, saying only:
While we would have wanted Mr Mueller to continue as planned, we also respect and ultimately agree to his decision to leave.
Khazanah also said Mueller will retain his seat at the board as a non-executive director. His replacement, said Khazanah, should be selected and revealed before September, when Mueller definitely leaves Malaysia Airlines.
Greg Waldron, Managing Editor for Asia market for a prominent aviation industry website Flightglobal said Mueller’s withdrawal represents “bad news” for Malaysia Airlines Bhd.
The environment is not getting any less challenging. And with him leaving, for whatever reason, it’s going to be tough.
Meanwhile, flight MH370, which disappeared in March, 2014 with 239 passengers and crew members remains undiscovered for over two years, despite extensive search. The only confirmed piece of debris so far was a flaperon found on the French-owned island of Reunion near Madagascar in June last year.
However, other pieces of debris have since been found near Mozambique, South Africa and on Rodrigues Island since then, which could shed new light on the final moments of MH370 and those on board.