Malaysia Airlines has promoted its chief operating officer Peter Bellew to the CEO’s seat to replace embattled Christoph Mueller, the airline’s main shareholder, state investment agency Khazanah Nasional announced this week.
Khazanah said in a statement that Bellew's appointment will ensure "continuity and further progress" as the airline tries to restructure itself following several years of financial challenges that included the loss of two airplnes.
"His appointment will ensure continuity and further progress of the overall restructuring effort, under the five-year 12-point MAS Recovery Plan (MRP) launched by Khazanah on Aug 29, 2014. As group MD and CEO, Mr Bellew’s primary tasks are to successfully implement the turnaround of Malaysia Airlines, as well as develop Malaysian leadership succession at MAB", the airline said in a statement.
Bellew previously worked for Ryanair and replaces Mueller who stepped down far ahead of the end of his three-year contract.
The airline was privatised by Khazanah and Mueller was brought in to take on a $1.5 billion restructuring plan, but apparently ruffled too many feathers among the airline’s suppliers and government overseers.
The national airline suffered years of financial losses before two disasters in 2014 — the disappearance of Flight 370 and the loss of another plane shot down over Ukraine.