KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — Malaysia Airlines (MAS) could tap a foreigner to head its operations as part of its overhaul, the first time the flag carrier will be headed by a non-Malaysian, according to a local daily.
Citing unnamed sources, The Star said the proposal to look outside the country for a new chief executive to head MAS has been approved by main shareholder, Khazanah Nasional.
The nationality of the candidate was not disclosed, but sources told the newspaper that the individual was one with experience in the aviation sector.
“The candidate is among three shortlisted. He is a person from the airline industry… not somebody from outside the industry,” the source was quoted saying.
The new CEO will take over from Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, whose contract was extended until September next year.
The source also reportedly told the daily that in addition to the new CEO, MAS will also be hiring “another five or six key personnel” with knowledge of “specific areas” in the industry as a cost-cutting measure.
“For instance, in the area of engineering, which is a major cost centre, a person will be hired to guide the committee on how to rationalise cost without impacting services,” the source reportedly said.
The Star reported that the move is an attempt by Putrajaya to send a signal to the various stakeholders in the industry that the administration is committed to turning around the loss-making operations of the troubled airline.
Others previously tipped for the position included Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Celcom CEO Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly, and Axiata Group chief Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim.
All have since denied that they will take up the position.
In August, Khazanah Nasional unveiled a RM6 billion recovery plan for MAS that will see the ailing national carrier cut its employee headcount by 6,000 and dropping unprofitable routes.
Sovereign wealth fund has made a RM1.38-billion buyout offer to take MAS private as a first step in restructuring the national carrier which traces its beginnings to the 1930s.