MAS CEO: No political or work woes behind exit

DEBUNKING RUMOURS: Mr Mueller cited personal reasons for his resignation.


    Apr 22, 2016

    MAS CEO: No political or work woes behind exit


    OUTGOING Malaysia Airlines (MAS) CEO and managing director Christoph Mueller told a townhall briefing that he was leaving not because of any political pressure or that the task to turn around the airline was too big for him.

    He summed it up by saying that his departure was due to personal reasons and described his decision as something that would hurt his credentials and bank balance.

    He said all of the rumours were not true and that the reasons for his departure had to be really personal for him to make the decision to leave.

    However, he said he could not divulge the personal reasons and hoped that everyone would understand.

    Mr Mueller shocked the global airline community on Tuesday with his resignation from the hot seat at MAS.

    He was the man selected by MAS' parent Khazanah Nasional to turn the ailing airline around over a year ago.

    He is leaving two years ahead of his three-year contract, although he joined the airline four months ahead of schedule. He hopes to remain on the board of MAS as a non-executive director to see through the transition to a new leader.

    It was reported that it was a full house with over 500 employees at the townhall briefing by Mr Mueller and his chief operating officer Peter Bellew, who will be appointed as an executive director to help facilitate a smooth transition to a new CEO.

    This was the first townhall session with employees. Mr Mueller will be conducting several more over the next few days.

    Now that he is firm in his decision, Khazanah will be conducting a global search to find his replacement. That is what it had done when it wanted someone with global exposure to lead MAS more than a year ago.

    The airline then was in dire straits, bleeding profusely and suffering two air disasters in 2014.

    "A part of the groundwork of turning MAS around has been done, but the real test is in the full implementation of the business plan and it is for Khazanah to ensure that the new candidate who takes over from Mueller does not come up with a new plan and rock the boat.

    "Instead, he must stick to the existing business plan that Mueller has set to see whether it yields results," said a market analyst.

    Since Mr Mueller took over, MAS has axed 6,000 employees, revamped operations to some extent and turned into a regional airline.

    He also managed to get Emirates as a code-share partner to give the national carrier the global connectivity it needs.