Malaysia Airlines CEO calls it quits early


Malaysia Airlines CEO calls it quits early

Christoph Mueller, the CEO of troubled Malaysia Airlines, said in mid-April he was calling it quits after serving only one year of his three-year contract with the Southeast Asia carrier.


Mueller chalked up his early exit to “changing personal circumstances” and is expected to serve in his post until September. The airline said he has asked to remain as a non-executive director.


Malaysia Airlines has already started to look for a new leader and it said in its statement that it would consider both internal and external candidates.


Mueller stepped into the CEO position in May 2015 to restructure the airline that had suffered for years from overspending, bad management and a heavy-handed government overseer.


The now outgoing CEO was hired based on the strength of his work in turning around Aer Lingus in Ireland and was headhunted by Malaysia Airlines owner  Khazanah Nasional as part of a US$1.5 billion recovery plan for the airline.


The turnaround plan was officially unveiled in August 2014 and included delisting the company and making it wholly owned by Khazanah, cutting 6,000 jobs and doing away with unprofitable routes.


“While we would have wanted Mr. Mueller to continue as planned, we also respect and ultimately agree to his decision to leave ahead of the end of his three-year contract, due to a change in his personal circumstances,” said Khazanah, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund.


“We note that Mr. Mueller has laid the groundwork, put in place a strong management team, and undertaken the necessary measures and initiatives that have produced encouraging signs of progress on Malaysia Airlines’ path to recovery,” Khazanah said.


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