Malaysia – AirAsia Expedia (AAE) has appointed Kathleen Tan (pictured) as its chief executive officer tasked with overseeing the Expedia brand.
She will also over see the AirAsiaGo and Backick online travel agency (OTA) businesses in Southeast Asia, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
Taking over her current role as AirAsia group chief commercial officer is Siegtraund Teh, who was promoted to manage the commercial team and deliver commercial performance improvements across the AirAsia group.
Tan was most recently AirAsia’s group head of commercial and senior vice president for China since 2004, acting as group chief executive officer and co-founder Tony Fernandes’ right-hand woman managing AirAsia’s performance and its fifteen departments across its airlines.
During the past eight years, Tan’s leadership has grown AirAsia’s revenue twenty-fold to over RM10 billion (US$3.5 billion) in 2012.
Tan’s experience has made her a respected figure in the travel industry, including being named one of the ‘Top 10 Most Influential Woman Leader in Travel’ by WebInTravel and being dubbed an “aviation legend” by Baidu, China’s largest search engine.
The social media junkie also spearheaded AirAsia’s social media strategy and development early on, leading to AirAsia’s social media presence ranked number one in Asia Pacific by multiple metrics.
Tan herself has over 200,000 fans on Sina Weibo and is ranked in the top 2000 most influential social media users among 300 million Weibo users.
Teh, on the other hand, joined the commercial function in 2007 and played a crucial role in laying down AirAsia’s footprints into North Asia, especially China.
She was part of the team responsible in building the vast network and launching new routes. In her regional role, she aligned all aspects of regional campaigns responsible for the development of comprehensive plans to ensure the success of multi-channel initiatives in marketing.
In 2012, Teh was seconded to AirAsia Japan to assist in building the commercial and marketing start-up of that new entity, whilst continuing with her role as group marketing manager.
AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said “These promotions are part of the process of putting the right people in place to be ready for that continued growth. Our focus for the next five years is ancillary and adjacent businesses and the potential of AirAsia Expedia is enormous.
“Having Kathleen driving the business gives me huge encouragement and I am sure AAE and the OTA industry will escalate tremendously when Kathleen gets to work her unique style of brand-building, sales and profits growth”.