Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) has named its chief operating officer and former Ryanair executive Peter Bellew as the carrier's new chief executive, replacing Christoph Mueller who resigned earlier this year. He will assume the role on July 1, the airline said in a statement last week.
Bellew joined Malaysia Airlines from Ryanair, where he was director of flight operations. Prior to this, he held roles as Ryanair deputy director of flight operations and head of sales and
marketing. Since joining Malaysia Airlines in 2015, Bellew has worked alongside Mueller on the airline’s turnaround and restructuring plan.
Meanwhile, several media reports have speculated that Mueller will be joining Dubai-based airline Emirates, where the 54-year-old German national will become chief transformation officer, in charge of digitisation.
Calls for a Malay successor went unheard
Mueller, a turnaround specialist, was hired last year on a three-year contract to lead the Malaysian carrier's recovery following the loss of two aircraft. He announced his resignation in April, citing personal reasons.
Mueller reduced the workforce by 6,000 as part of a restructuring strategy launched by Malaysia's investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Berhad.
Reports also say that Bellew's appointment comes after calls for a Malaysian CEO, following comments Mueller made to a German radio station about workers sleeping on the job and having "nothing to do."
After the broadcast, the Malaysian flight attendants union said Mueller did not understand Malaysian work culture, while the non-governmental Malay dominance organisation, Persatuan Pribumi Perkasa (Malay for "Mighty Native Organisation"), led calls for a Malay successor.
Nol van Fenema