Malaysia Airlines Has A New CEO But Perkasa Wants Him Gone

The Irish native has over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry.

Cover image via

Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), in an "accelerated leadership transition", has appointed its Chief Operating Officer (COO) Peter Bellew to succeed outgoing Managing Director (MD) cum Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Christoph Mueller. Here's what we know:

In a statement today, Malaysia Airlines said Mueller, who resigned on March 10 this year and is serving his notice until Sept 9, will go on leave and step down from the national carrier’s board from July 1 onwards.

Malaysia Airlines said Mueller will remain available to the company until the end of his notice period, to help ensure a smooth leadership transition.

Peter Bellew

Image via ttgasia

Peter Bellew's appointment as the new CEO takes effect from 1 July

Peter, who has been a member of Malaysia Airlines's senior management team since the first day of its full operations on 1 September 2015, is an Irish national with over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry.

Peter is now the third CEO to be named by MAB in two years

“Peter’s appointment will pave the way for a smooth transition to ensure the continued success of our national airline,” said Md Nor Md Yusof, chairman of Malaysia Airlines.

“The board of directors and I look forward to working with Peter and the senior-management team to continue driving the progress and performance of the airline further forward.”

Outgoing CEO Mueller.

Image via MC

Before joining Malaysia Air in September 2015, Peter was with Dublin-based carrier Ryanair, where he worked as Director of Flight Operations. He was also an MD at Ireland's Kerry Airport.

Image via Ryanair

Peter Bellew is an Irish native of Bettystown, Co Meath and before joining MAS, lived with his family near Killarney, Northern Ireland where he was director of flight operations for Aer Lingus main rival in the region, Ryanair.

In fact, Christoph in helming Aer Lingus had come into head-to-head competition with Ryanair before engineering the Irish national airlines turnaround strategy.

MAG and Malaysia Airlines chairman Md Nor Md Yusof, who said the appointment will pave the way for a smooth transition, has showered peter with praises, calling him an exceptional leader

"Peter has been a key figure in the airline's senior management team responsible for executing the biggest and fastest transformation in our history. He is an exceptional leader and has been an invaluable contributor to the transformation of the airline over the last 10 months," Yusof said in announcing Bellow's appointment in a statement.

While there was a roar of approval when Peter was named MAB's new MD and CEO during a town hall meeting at the airline's headquarters, and he is surely excited to lead Malaysia Airlines...

Perkasa, on the other hand, has vehemently denounced his appointment, claiming that Peter's appointment as MAB's new CEO goes against the voice of the Malaysian public and shows the administration's lack of confidence in local talent, the Malay rights group has renewed its call for a Malaysian to assume the role

“Perkasa’s economic bureau urges the Najib administration and Khazanah to call off Bellew’s appointment and immediately fill the vacancy with a Malaysian citizen,” he said in a statement.

“Perkasa Economic Bureau Malaysia also urges the entire MAB board of directors to resign from their posts immediately for failing to defend the interests of the people and the government of Malaysia in MAB and MAS.”

He said the group was disappointed with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s decision to approve the appointment Bellew, who now also is an MAB board member and group MD of Malaysia Aviation Group Berhad (MAG).

However, Perkasa's opposition to the appointment of another foreigner to head the national airline shouldn't be surprising given remarks made by outgoing CEO Mueller about workers sleeping on the job and having "nothing to do" had outraged NUFAM:

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