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This Can't Be Good: Malaysia Airlines' CEO Resigns

Download: Printable PDF Date: 19 Apr 2016 12:15 category:
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This Can't Be Good: Malaysia Airlines' CEO Resigns - Airlines publisher
Dana Ermolenko
Country: Malaysia Aircraft: Airplanes Airline: Malaysia Airlines
Source: Boardingarea

While there are plenty of struggling airlines, the one I probably feel worst for is Malaysia Airlines. The airline had already been losing money for years, and then they lost two Boeing 777 aircraft just months apart, which is just about an unprecedented tragedy.

Probably the smartest thing the airline did in a while is hire Christoph Mueller as their CEO, who is known as one of the industry’s best “crisis CEOs.” He turned around Aer Lingus, and had a three year contract at Malaysia Airlines, where he started as CEO on May 1, 2015.

He has made radical changes to the airline, including huge layoffs, transferring all assets to a new company, retiring the entire 777 fleet, installing a new longhaul business class product, entering into a partnership with Emirates for longhaul flying, going dry on shorthaul flights, and much more.

Malaysia-772

Ultimately the changes are working, because Malaysia turned their first monthly profit in years this February, and is still hoping to be profitable by 2018.

Well, even though Christoph Mueller’s contract runs for three years, he’s expected to terminate it early, and will be leaving his position as Malaysia Airlines CEO in September 2016 due to “personal reasons.” He’s expected to remain with the airline as a non-executive director. Per Astro Awani, here’s what the board had to say about Mueller’s departure:

“The  Board  has  acknowledged  Mr  Mueller’s  plan  to  leave  ahead  of  time,  which  is  due to  his  changing personal  circumstances,  and  has  commenced  a  search  for  a  new  CEO,  which  will  encompass  both internal and external potential candidates,” said MAB in a statement here today.

MAC chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof said the company was disappointed to lose Christoph as CEO but  we  fully  understand  his  reasons  and  respect  his  need  to  do  this.

“On behalf of the Board, the  management team and the employees, I want to thank Christoph for his immense contribution to the  restructuring of Malaysia Airlines. Since he joined, Christoph has made a significant impact in putting the airline on the desired trajectory towards full recovery and we appreciate all his efforts.

“His hard work over the last year has seen Malaysia Airlines set on a path where there has already been encouraging progress.  There  are  other  significant  strategic  decisions  already  in  the  pipeline  which  Christoph  has made  preparations  for  and  will  manage  through,” said Md Nor.

Malaysia-A380

Here’s what Mueller himself had to say:

“I am proud of what we have achieved as a team in such a short time and that the hard work  of  all  of  our  employees  is  already  showing  the  first  signs  of  success.  I am looking forward  to continuing this exciting task for another six months in my executive position,” said Mueller in the statement.

“Unfortunately, personal circumstances will make it difficult for me to complete my full term. The  airline has been restructured  and  re-positioned  to  regain  its  leading  position  in  customer  experience  and  to  continue  to  connect Malaysia with the world.

“I am confident that the company is now on the right track to succeed in its next phase of growth under a new CEO. I remain fully committed to do everything possible to facilitate the continuing turnaround of Malaysia Airlines,” he added.

Of course Christoph Mueller deserves to have his privacy respected, but I do wonder if the “personal circumstances” line is the actual reason he’s leaving Malaysia Airlines, or if there’s more to it. Perhaps the personal circumstances are that he can’t freaking take it at the airline anymore. 



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