Malaysia Airlines Berhad’s CEO Christoph Muller (pictured centre) is leaving the company, ahead of completion of his three-year contract. He joined the team early 2015. Muller is set to leave in September this year.
Khazanah, as the sole shareholder of MAB will, in consultation with the MAB Board and the Government, will now undertake the succession planning for the new CEO of MAB. According to Khazanah, this is “due to a change in his personal circumstances”. In a confirmation statement, the company said:
“While we would have wanted Mueller to continue as planned, we also respect and ultimately agree to his decision to leave ahead of the end of his three-year contract, due to a change in his personal circumstances.”
Khazanah added that Mueller was “instrumental contribution in the restructuring efforts, all the while demonstrating strong performance as the person tasked with implementing the turnaround of the national carrier and developing talent for eventual local succession.”
Since Muller joined the company, MAS has seen several restructure initiatives put in place. He was first brought in to help the beleaguered airline following the airline tragedies of MH370 and MH17. Mueller has more than 25 years of experience in the aviation, logistics and tourism sectors.
Prior to joining MAS, Mueller was CEO of Aer Lingus, the national airline of Ireland. At Aer Lingus, Mueller managed to turnaround the loss-making airline within a year, in a declining Irish market and tepid European market conditions. Aer Lingus’ sustainable profitability and cash generation was built on a new strategy and business model that enabled the 78-year-old carrier to compete in a difficult market environment with both traditional legacy airlines and low-cost carriers. Under his watch, Aer Lingus ventured into new markets and business models, and successfully repositioned itself from a primarily business-to-business model to a business-to-consumer model with a 90% online distribution.
Under his leadership, MAS also appointed Charles McKee as head of marketing. Malaysia Airlines also saw the transition into Malaysia Airlines Berhad. Recently, commenting on the progress of MAS Mueller said: “We have seen a challenging quarter but I am pleased to see continued progress made in all key areas such as on-time performance and costs. Malaysia Airlines has been operating for six months now and although we have a long way to go and areas for improvement, we are making steady progress in the restructuring.”
(Photo courtesy: MAS Facebook page)