Local CEO good for Malaysia Airlines, says ex-boss

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KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysia Airlines (MAS) CEO Abdul Aziz Rahman is happy that Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) has appointed Capt Izham Ismail as the new group chief executive officer.

“I’m glad that they have finally put a local person in the position, instead of getting another expatriate,” Aziz told FMT.

The last Malaysian to hold the post of Malaysia Airlines CEO was Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, who was replaced by Christoph Mueller in 2015.

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.

Aziz said that it is a good thing that another expatriate was not employed as CEO of MAB as it would have meant such an individual being paid a hefty amount that would also be far more than any local.

“I think you can employ three or four Malaysians with (the salary) of one expatriate.

“What is so good about them? Why did they take them and pay a lot of money?” he questioned.

Izham has had 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 any interference from Khazanah.

Ryanair Holdings PLC had said in a statement last week that Bellew would rejoin the company as its chief operations officer.

Bellew will be given the specific responsibility of helping the Irish airline address a pilot staffing issue that led to major flight cancellations, the statement said.

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