Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller has been named the new head of struggling Malaysian Airlines (MAS).
Rumours of his appointment surfaced earlier this year and MAS confirmed his role today.
He’ll be the first non-Malaysian national to run the airline, which saw twin tragedies this year of a vanished flight over the Indian Ocean, and the shooting down of one of its aircraft over Ukraine in August with the loss of 298 lives.
Mr Muller announced earlier this year that he planned to leave his role in Aer Lingus next year after more than five years at the helm.
He is also the chairman of An Post and on the board of Tourism Ireland.
He had signalled his wish to remain in Ireland after leaving Aer Lingus, so his appointment at Malaysian Airlines comes as a surprise.
He will also face a huge challenge getting the Asian airline back on its feet.
Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, the managing director of Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, which will soon take over the running of Malaysian Airlines said the board had taken into consideration the “critical nature” of the restructuring required at the carrier which “requires absolutely the best aviation management expertise, and in particular, those with a strong track record of turning around national flag carriers”.
"Christoph is the best candidate, and he has two equally important tasks: to lead the turnaround of our national carrier and to build local succession,” he added.
Source: Irish Independent