Malaysia Airlines CEO quits to move to Ryanair as COO

Andrew Cummings
October 21, 2017

Malaysia Airlines was caught by surprise on Tuesday when Dublin-based Ryanair announced Bellew was joining the company.

Bellew, who was previously Ryanair's director of flight operations, joined Malaysia Airlines in 2015 as its chief operating officer under a major revamp to help the airline return to the black.

Malaysia's state investment fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, launched a five-year recovery plan when it took over struggling Malaysia Airlines in 2014.

"He led the restructuring of the engineering division for more efficient and leaner operations, and was also responsible for the airline's fuel savings initiative", added the airline.

He said it should also put an end to criticisms against the government, including over the appointment of two non-Malaysians (Christopher Mueller and Peter Bellew) who resigned before their contract period as GCEO of the national carrier was completed.

"It is a form of national service", he said in a statement released in his personal capacity and not on behalf of Malaysia Airlines.

He broke world aviation records when he flew Malaysia Airlines' first B777-200 eastward from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur and back.

The appointment has for now halted the leadership turmoil at Malaysia Airlines, which has turned over three chief executives in just the past three years. Bellew is now on administrative leave.

Bellew took over for Christoph Mueller, who unexpectedly resigned past year.

Capt Izham has logged 38 years of experience in the aviation industry, having started his career with Malaysia Airlines as a pilot in 1979.

The choice of Izham, who will assume the post December 1, has been endorsed by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also the chairman of Khazanah.

Even so, the new CEO will be facing a highly competitive market dominated by budget carrier AirAsia.

Malaysia Airlines issued a terse statement noting Bellew's "unexpected announcement" and pointing out that he had recently reiterated his commitment to the airline.

"The repeated turnover at the top makes the already challenging turnaround even more hard to complete", said Sobie.

Malaysia Airlines' outgoing chief executive Peter Bellew said on Wednesday his decision to leave the airline for Ryanair RYA.I was due to a sense of responsibility to his native country.

Other reports by iNewsToday