There was no interference at all, say Bellew and Khazanah

October 18, 2017 | By | Reply More

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PETALING JAYA: Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the sole shareholder of Malaysia Airlines, has denied allegations that Peter Bellew’s departure as CEO of the national carrier is due to interference from the state-owned investment firm.

Describing a news report alleging interference as “erroneous and misleading”, Khazanah said in a statement that the restructuring of Malaysia Airlines follows a well laid-out governance and approval framework, as provided for by the MAS Recovery Plan issued on Aug 29, 2014 and by the Malaysian Airline System Bhd (Administration) Act 2015.

“The Malaysia Airlines board of directors and management submits its key plans to Khazanah as the sole shareholder and funder of the restructuring, and collectively, we have worked closely together to deliver the progress of the on-going restructuring to date,” it added.

Meanwhile, Bellew said in a personal statement to the media that there was no interference from the government.

“They (Khazanah) have been incredibly supportive to me personally and corporately. I tried to be transparent on a daily basis, included them in most significant meetings and dragged their staff to work for us! It has worked well. There has been no interference,” he noted.

On Tuesday, Ryanair Holdings PLC announced that Bellew will rejoin the carrier as COO effective Dec 1, which caught Malaysia Airlines by surprise.

Malaysia Airlines said its board of directors will meet and discuss the matter following this “unexpected announcement”.

Bellew spent a decade at Ryanair until 2014, and was director of flight operations before joining Malaysia Airlines as COO in September 2015. He took over as CEO on July 1, 2016 when Christoph Mueller left the national carrier.

Bellew explained in his statement to the media that his resignation as Malaysia Airlines CEO is due to his patriotism to his home country Ireland.

“Love for country is pulling me back to Ireland. I got a call from Ryanair late evening two weeks ago to be COO. It is Ireland’s greatest company. They need my help and there is a big challenge. It is a form of national service.

“When I was asked on Sept 27 would I go to Ryanair, I said no. But a week later the call came and in life we can really never say never. I am looking forward to being close again to my family and friends 14 hours away in Ireland,” he noted.

Nonetheless, Bellew said success is just within its grasp at Malaysia Airlines.

“Just another 4-5% in revenue monthly and it should move to profits. Not always easy to gain but in the second quarter revenue increased 7%,” he added.

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