M'sia Airlines CEO leaves for 'national service'
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines' outgoing chief executive Peter Bellew said yesterday that his decision to leave the airline for Ryanair was due to a sense of responsibility to his native country.
Ryanair announced on Tuesday that Mr Bellew, its former director of flight operations, will be rejoining the Irish airline as chief operating officer on Dec 1 to help address a pilot-staffing issue that has led to the cancellation of around 20,000 flights.
Mr Bellew, an Irish national, said his return to Ryanair is due to "love for country" and that he could not turn down a request to help the struggling airline.
"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 statement released in his personal capacity.
A report by the New Straits Times on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources, said Mr Bellew and predecessor Christoph Mueller's departures were due to state investment fund and Malaysian Airlines owner Khazanah Nasional Berhad's interference in the running of the state-controlled airline.
"Khazanah, in actual fact, was micro-managing Malaysia Airlines. There were cases where Khazanah bypassed the Malaysian Airlines board," a source was quoted as saying.
Mr Bellew said there was no interference.
"They have been incredibly supportive to me personally and corporately," he said.
Khazanah called the allegations "erroneous and misleading". - REUTERS