KUALA LUMPUR – Ireland’s Aer Lingus chief executive officer (CEO) Christoph R. Mueller’s impeccable track record makes him the right man to take Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS) out of the doldrums.
It, however, would not be an easy task at MAS despite having turned around financially-troubled German Airlines Lufthansa as the national carrier faced complex problems over the years.
The problems include huge losses amounting to RM576.1 million for the third quarter ended Sept 30 and the intense competition in the aviation industry, particularly from low-cost carrier.
Besides these, he also needs to rejuvenate the MAS brand in view of the negative fallout from MH370 and MH17 incidents on March 8 and July 17, respectively.
Meanwhile, in a statement today, Khazanah Nasional Bhd said Muller undertook a corporate turnaround exercise of Lufthansa between 1994 and 1999 as senior vice-president for network management and corporate planning.
“The German, who is CEO of Aer Lingus since 2009, has over 25 years of relevant experiences in the aviation, logistics and tourism sectors.
“Under his watch, Aer Lingus ventured into new markets and business models. It successfully repositioned itself from being primarily a business-to-business model to a business-to-consumer model with a 90 per cent online distribution,” it said.
Khazanah said in 1999, Muller moved to Sabena S.A., which was part of the Swissair Group, where he was chief operating officer before becoming Sabena Group’s CEO.
“Mueller developed a series of plans to fit in with the Belgium Government’s shareholding, including a major cost-cutting programme.
“Overall, he has approximately ten years as a chief executive in divisional and group roles in the airline sector, as well as extensive boardroom experience, including in the travel sector,” it said.
Mueller would be appointed CEO-designate of MAS New Co effective Jan 1, 2015 and would be a board member sometime in the second quarter of next year. – Bernama