Malaysia Airlines nabs Qatar Airways' commercial lead

Malaysia Airlines has appointed Arved von zur Muehlen as chief commercial officer. He takes over from Paul Simmons who will be leaving in mid-September 2016.

Prior to his appointment, Muehlen was senior vice president of commercial network operations for Qatar Airways. He was responsible for global sales strategy and development as well as innovation and technology with a revenue target of more than US$7 billion.

He was also previously vice president sales international at Swiss International Airlines where he spent four years. He was responsible for sales and marketing across 18 online markets. Muehlen also spent over 15 years with Lufthansa Airlines covering a wide breadth of portfolios in revenue management, sales and marketing and left the airline as managing director of Greater China.

“Muehlen will play a crucial role in the next phase of the turnaround, focusing on restoring our position as a leading international carrier and developing our innovative customer centric services. He is a welcomed addition to the team as we move forward with our global marketing strategy to increase sales and promote the wonders of Malaysia,” chief executive officer Peter Bellew said.

“I wish to thank Paul for his contributions to Malaysia Airlines and I look forward to a smooth transition and working with Muehlen to continue the work began by Paul in the next phase of the airline’s exciting journey,” Bellew added.

Bellew recently took over the reign from Christoph Mueller as group managing director and chief executive officer of Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG). Prior to the appointment, he was chief operating officer.

This follows announcements on Bellew taking on executive director duties for the MAS board late April, it has since been largely speculated by Malaysian media that he will succeed Mueller. The leadership changes have been approved by Khazanah Nasional, the sole shareholder of MAG.

The national flight carrier also recently appointed GroupM and Rally Worldwide for media duties in May. GroupM was awarded the business on all paid media and media strategy while IPG’s Rally manages social media.

The duties cover channel planning, global media buy, search engine marketing and remarketing, social media, community management as well as influencer engagement.  The agencies will be supporting the airline for two years with an option to renew for one year.