Muslim fashion icon Neelofa joins AirAsia as non-executive director

AirAsia Berhad today appointed local Muslim fashion entrepreneur Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor as the low-cost airline’s non-executive independent director. — Picture by Choo Choy May
AirAsia Berhad today appointed local Muslim fashion entrepreneur Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor as the low-cost airline’s non-executive independent director. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Listed company AirAsia Berhad today appointed local Muslim fashion entrepreneur Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor as the low-cost airline’s non-executive independent director.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said he and the firm’s board members — who had unanimously approved Neelofa’s appointment — were delighted to welcome her on board.

“She is a great addition to the board. Her experience as an entrepreneur, a brand creator and an industry disruptor will be invaluable to AirAsia, and she will be able to provide fresh insights into our business as we transform into a digital airline,” he said in a statement today.

He described Neelofa as being “super smart, young and independent”, which he said would help AirAsia stay ahead as it works towards becoming one of the best performing and most trusted companies globally.

“Her reputation as Malaysia’s leading businesswomen, one of the few Malaysians named by Forbes Asia in their 30 Under 30, and her track record in championing women in business is an inspiration to us. I look forward to working with Neelofa,” he added.

AirAsia has previously collaborated with Neelofa’s brand of Muslim headscarves, Naelofar Hijab, with an exclusively designed hijab for the airline’s female pilots.

Beginning June 2017, Muslim female pilots from AirAsia and AirAsia X have donned the white Naelofar Hijab that is specifically tailored to meet their workday needs.

Neelofa, a former celebrity who became a successful entrepreneur in the Muslim women fashion industry, said she was delighted to take on the challenge by joining AirAsia as a non-executive independent director.

“This is not only an achievement for me, but for all women out there. For the past 7 years, I have explored both the entertainment and business industries which have presented me with so many opportunities to grow and to transform. I’m excited to take on this brand new role, to challenge myself to go further and also to grow as a person,” she said.

“I am also excited to represent the Gen Y and our insights for the business. Thank you again AirAsia and I can’t wait to fly together with you!” she added.

According to AirAsia, Neelofa has built up a business empire around her Naelofar Hijab, with sales reportedly on track to hit RM200 million this year.

The brand is said to be available in 37 countries, including the US, UK, France, Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore and Brunei.

In an announcement on Bursa Malaysia, AirAsia said Neelofa is an award-winning individual who is also an ambassador for many international brands, noting that she also has more than five million followers on the social media platform Instagram.

AirAsia also announced in separate filings with Bursa Malaysia that both Aireen Omar and Tharumalingam Kanagalingam would resign from the board as non-independent directors, to allow for more independent directors to join the board in order to enhance corporate governance and compliance.

“This move will also enable Aireen Omar and Tharumalingam Kanagalingam to focus on the transformation and ambitious growth plans for the company,” the company said in a statement today.

Aireen who is also AirAsia CEO and executive director, and Tharumalingam who is AirAsia deputy group CEO of operations will keep their current executive positions.