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What’s going on in Malaysia Airlines?

October 19, 2017

Malaysia Airlines does not need a 'rotating CEO syndrome' to add to its current challenges.


peter-bellewBy TK Chua

The problems seem endless, interference or not from Khazanah or the government.

First, why do we need foreigners to manage our airlines? Second, even if foreigners are needed, why are we not getting the right ones? Instead, we have CEOs coming and going as if they are part-time security guards.

I don’t care how much expertise these CEOs have; surely they can’t be treating Malaysia Airlines with “contempt”. One minute they are expressing loyalty to Malaysia Airlines, but the next minute, they are resigning for “personal” or “national” reasons. Why do they want to come here if they want to serve their own countries so much? Frankly, the reasons given are nonsensical.

I just find it very odd. If Malaysia Airlines is unable to get a Malaysian to helm the company as its CEO, I am sure it knows how to recruit a foreigner whose commitment to the airline is more enduring than that of the two previous ones. Do we not have binding contracts and KPIs that they must comply with and achieve when we first appoint them? Why pay them high salaries when they can leave any time with nothing much to show?

In recent years, Malaysia Airlines has been facing enormous challenges with intense competition and setbacks. We do not need a “rotating CEO syndrome” to add to the problems. I am sure many of the strategies and plans which were put in place by each successive CEO will be jeopardised with each new personality at the helm.

The next CEO of Malaysia Airlines must be recruited based on a binding contract and specific performance targets. The CEO can’t leave as he/she pleases. At least half of his/her remunerations must be tied to performance achieved. Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia shouldn’t be the sucker to fleeting international executives.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


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