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Liow caught off guard by Bellew’s resignation

 | October 18, 2017

The transport minister, however, is confident Bellew’s departure will not affect the transformation plans of Malaysia Airlines.

liowtionglai-peter-bellewKUALA LUMPUR: Peter Bellew’s decision to step down as Malaysia Airlines Bhd CEO and managing director has caught Liow Tiong Lai by surprise, with the transport minister saying there were no indications pointing to the former’s exit.

“I would like to get more details. I haven’t received any report from Malaysia Airlines,” he told reporters when met at the Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Deepavali open house here today.

Yesterday, it was reported that Bellew would rejoin Ryanair Holdings PLC, his former employer, as its chief operations officer.

A statement by Ryanair said Bellew would be given the specific responsibility of helping the Irish low-cost airline address a pilot staffing issue that caused thousands of flight cancellations.

Bellew’s decision apparently also took the Malaysia Airlines board by surprise, which it called “unexpected”.

Malaysia Airlines noted that Bellew had publicly “expressed his commitment to Malaysia Airlines” at a press conference with Malaysian and international media on Sept 27 when asked on speculation that he would re-join Ryanair.

The Malaysian carrier said its board of directors would meet and an announcement would be made in due course.

Liow said Bellew’s resignation would not have any impact on Malaysia Airlines, adding that the successor would be appointed by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, which owns the airline.

Earlier today, the New Straits Times reported that Mass Rapid Transit Corp (MRT Corp) CEO Shahril Mokhtar and Malaysia Airlines chief financial officer Omar Siddiq Amin Noer Rashid were among the top contenders for the position.

Liow was also confident the resignation would not affect the transformation plans that were drawn up for Malaysia Airlines.

Bellew took over as CEO from Christoph Mueller, who left the airline in September 2016. He was brought in by Mueller as part of the Malaysia Airlines management team on Sept 1, 2015 as chief operations officer.


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