KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Berhad Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew has been named the airline's new Chief Executive Officer from Jul 1, Malaysian investment fund Khazanah announced in a media release on Thursday (Jun 30).
Mr Bellew will also be the Group Managing Director of Malaysia Aviation Group and Malaysia Airlines, the media release stated.
Khazanah added that the appointment was discussed and recorded at its board of directors' meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak on Jun 21, 2016.
"His appointment will ensure continuity and further progress of the overall restructuring effort, under the five-year 12-point MAS Recovery Plan (MRP) launched by Khazanah on Aug 29, 2014. As Group MD and CEO, Mr Bellew’s primary tasks are to successfully implement the turnaround of Malaysia Airlines, as well as develop Malaysian leadership succession at MAB," the release said.
The airlines' former CEO Christoph Mueller, who was hired last year, launched a painful rescue plan that entailed slashing 6,000 jobs and dramatically trimming the carrier's route network.
But he announced his departure from the company on Apr 19, well before the end of his three-year contract, due to "a change in personal circumstances".
Khazanah took Malaysia Airlines private in 2014, as part of a 6.0 billion ringgit (US$1.5 billion) plan to help it return to profit. The devastating MH370 and MH17 disasters in 2014 pushed the perennially loss-making airline to the brink of bankruptcy as bookings dried up.
Flight MH370 disappeared on Mar 8 of that year, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew. Debris found in the Indian Ocean has confirmed the Boeing 777 went down but what happened remains a mystery.
Four months later, MH17 was blown from the sky by a suspected Russian-made ground-to-air missile over war-torn Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew.