Izham Ismail is Malaysia Airlines’ new boss


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines Bhd has announced the promotion of its chief operating officer (COO) Izham Ismail as the company’s new group CEO and executive director.

In a statement today, it said Izham will assume the new role on Dec 1, succeeding Peter Bellew, who is currently on administrative leave after deciding to rejoin his former employer Ryanair in Ireland.

“To ensure a smooth transition, a board executive committee will be in place for up to six months.

“It will be led by chairman Md Nor Yusof and will include board members Krishnan Tan Boon Seng, Zamzamzairani Isa and Sheranjiv Sammanthan,” Malaysia Airlines said.

“Izham has been integral to the airline’s ongoing turnaround effort.

“As COO, he was responsible for the operations division, which includes flight and airport operations, as well as engineering,” it added.

“He led the restructuring of the engineering division for more efficient and leaner operations, and was also responsible for the airline’s fuel savings initiative.”

Izham has 38 years of experience in the aviation industry, having started his career with Malaysia Airlines as a pilot in 1979.

He has broken a few world aviation records, including one when he flew Malaysia Airlines’ first B777-200 eastward from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur and back.

Prior to becoming COO in 2016, he served as CEO of MASwings, Malaysia Airlines’ sister company in Sabah and Sarawak.

Bellew had said in a statement on Oct 18 that he was returning to Ireland to rejoin Ryanair because of the love for his country after the company had approached him about it two weeks before.

He also said his resignation was not motivated by interference by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the owner of Malaysia Airlines.

At a press conference earlier today, the National Union of Flight Attendants (Nufam) had said it had a few suggestions on who should be appointed the next group CEO but would reveal them later.

“Whoever it is, the person should be someone who cares about the airlines, not someone who’s in it for the money or position,” Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin said.