Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia Airlines Berhad on Friday (20/10) appointed Captain Izham Ismail as group chief executive officer designate with immediate effect following the departure of Peter Bellew after just over a year in the job.
Bellew was Malaysia Airlines' chief operating officer before taking over as chief executive in July last year, after his predecessor Christoph Mueller abruptly quit less than a year after being hired for a three-year mission to revive the firm.
In a statement today, it said Izham will assume the new role on Dec 1, succeeding Peter Bellew, who is now on administrative leave after deciding to rejoin his former employer Ryanair in Ireland.
"With Ryanair under fire for the cancellation of 20,000 flights, a statement from the airline said that Bellew would specifically be responsible for managing pilots and "(ensuring) that the pilot rostering failure which Ryanair suffered in early September will never be repeated".
Malaysia said in a statement the move was "unexpected" but the airline's turnaround remained "on track and on schedule".
The MRP, launched by Khazanah on Aug 29, 2014, provides for the development and succession of Malaysian leadership talent as a key component of the overall restructuring effort.
"To ensure a smooth transition, a board executive committee will be in place for up to six months".
"He led the restructuring of the engineering division for more efficient and leaner operations, and was also responsible for the airline's fuel savings initiative", MAB said.
Capt Izham has logged 38 years of experience in the aviation industry, having started his career with Malaysia Airlines as a pilot in 1979.
"He has valuable breadth of understanding that spans airline operations and business management".
The carrier said he once set a world record by flying 41 hours 59 minutes from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur and back in a Boeing 777-200, a journey of 23,310 miles.
"I am proud that he is our own internal homegrown talent", Nor Yusof, Malaysia Airlines chairman, said in a press release.
Bellew, in an Instagram post, said Izham would be a great leader for MAS. My entire career has been spent with Malaysia Airlines and it is very much my family.
He said: 'I'm sure many of you will have seen the recent communications from Ryanair trying to entice our pilots to join.