Bellew slams the doors on Malaysia Airlines, joining RyanairOctober 18, 2017
The business media is abuzz of the shocking turn of events at the national carrier in Malaysia, adding to its turbulent future, with the sudden resignation of its CEO Peter Bellew who spent less than one and a half year at the helm of the airline.
Bellew is said to be heading back home to Ryanair where he is expected to ensure that recent problems that resulted in the cancellation of 20,000 flights over this winter would not occur again.
Ryanair could be facing big compension bills after a problem in the scheduling of pilots led it to cancel those flights.
The Irishman, an industry veteran with over two decades of experience, said in a Ryanair press release Tuesday that he was “excited” to return to the Dublin-based carrier.
He spent nine years at Ryanair where his last position there was as its director of flight operations.
While the news is still making waves, and remains unconfirmed until Malaysia Airlines or Bellew issues a statement confirming the resignation, the latter was quoted in a statement by Ryanair as saying he was excited to return home to the embattled Irish airline.
In the statement, Bellew was quoted as saying: “I am excited to return home to Ryanair and take up the challenge to grow the operation sustainably. I look forward to working with all the team and all the crews I know so well to further develop our growth to 600 aircraft over the next six years.”
MAS issued a statement late last night saying Bellew promised to stay at the Malaysian carrier, seemingly unaware that its CEO is leaving for good.
In another twist to the story, the local daily New Straits Times accused Khazanah, the sole shareholder of MAS for the brutal exit of the CEO.
The NST, a paper close to the ruling Umno party, said yesterday night Bellew resignation should be blamed on Khazanah Nasional, in a rare attack on the otherwise highly respected sovereign fund.
There are stories of meddling and micromanaging from Khazanah that has brought Bellew to seek work at Ryanair.
TISG said Bellew’s exit could also be due to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s sudden commitment to Boeing and US President Trump that the airline would order a large number of long-range aircraft after the CEO insisted during his one year plus tenure that Malaysian Airlines would focus on short-range flights.
The about turn in the strategy could have also contributed to Bellew’s exit from MAS.
Bellew, in a statement today, denied Khazanah or the government’s intervention in the running of the affairs at Malaysian Airlines.
He said: “So why am I leaving. Negaraku. Love for country is pulling me back to Ireland. I got a call from Ryanair late evening two weeks ago to be COO. It is Ireland’s greatest company. They need my help and there is a big challenge. It is a form of national service.
“When I was asked on 27th Sept would I go to Ryanair I said no. But a week later the call came and in life we can really never say never. I am looking forward to being close again to my family and friends 14 hours away in Ireland.”