KUALA LUMPUR: Peter Bellew, who helmed Malaysia Airlines Bhd as its group managing director and chief executive officer for less than 1½ years, explains why he is leaving the national carrier to return to Ryanair.
In the statement issued on Wednesday, he said that he received 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,” he said in a personal statement why he was rejoining the Irish low-cost carrier.
On Tuesday, Ryanair announced that Bellew would be rejoining the Ryanair team in Dublin from Friday, Dec 1.
The statement took the Malaysia Airlines board by surprise, calling the announcement “unexpected”.
Malaysia Airlines noted that Bellew had publicly “expressed his commitment to Malaysia Airlines” at a press conference with Malaysian and international media on Sept 27 when asked on speculation that he would re-join Ryanair.
He explained: “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."
On Malaysia Airlines, Bellew pointed out that success is just within its grasp. Just another 4%-5% in revenue monthly and it should move to profits, he added.
He categorically stated that Khazanah Nasional, which owns the national carrier, had been “incredibly supportive to me personally and corporately”.
“I tried to be transparent on a daily basis, included them in most significant meetings and dragged their staff to work for us! It has worked well. There has been no interference,” he added.
He also stated that there was no interference from the government.
Below is his statement:
"This is a personal response and not on behalf of Malaysia Airlines corporately. I hope to answer some questions I was asked overnight.
Malaysia Airlines is special. Not just an airline but one of the earliest symbols of the vibrancy of this amazing country. People who have never flown in their life love it.
Most of the country hopes it will thrive and be the Pride of the Nation again. It is a tough job to fix it.
Success is just within our grasp. Just another 4%-5% in revenue monthly and it should move to profits.
Not always easy to gain but in the second quarter revenue increased 7%.
The product is improving visibly: new wide-body planes, new lounges, new loyalty program, new website and better operations in Kuala Lumpur.
Still some work needed on the food! Lots done – lots more to do.
Please don’t change the brand! Much work has been done globally through the media and travel agents to rebuild our heritage.
People love what Malaysia Airlines stands for. The brand is now revived from China to the UK and down to Australia. That work must continue and will yield the 5%+ revenue growth.
There have been news reports about Khazanah. Let me be clear. Khazanah is a Malaysian investment company linked to the Government. They have been incredibly supportive to me personally and corporately.
I tried to be transparent on a daily basis, included them in most significant meetings and dragged their staff to work for us! It has worked well. There has been no interference.
Although possibly I drove Khazanah mad with my constant questions and wish for consensus. I cannot thank them enough for accelerating our transformation. Tan Sri Azman could not have been more supportive. Terima kasih Khazanah.
People always ask me how do I cope with Government interference. There has been none for me. Zero interference.
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."