Tuesday, August 18, 2015

AirAsia founder Fernandes eyes retirement ‘within two years’

AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes has said he could be looking to retire as CEO of the budget carrier group within two years.

“My time is coming, maybe within the next two years,” he confirmed.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes
(Photo by Linda Blachly)

Fernandes, who famously bought the assets of a failed Malaysian government-backed attempt at starting a low-cost carrier (LCC) for MYR1.00 (a few cents), said he would consider a role in regional politics following any departure as CEO from the group’s holding company.

Fernandes indicated that a role at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would be preferred when he steps down.

“The ASEAN Secretariat would be good,” he said, although in the past AirAsia has been less than complimentary of the ASEAN Economic Community’s efforts to promote economic harmony across a wide range of nations—including such diverse blocs as Singapore, Laos and Indonesia.

“I would like to see the ASEAN Secretary General having greater power and influence on the economic direction [of the region], he said at a recent ASEAN working group meeting. “If you put me there, I will make a lot of changes,” he added.

AirAsia recently reshuffled its senior management, as Kamaruddin Meranun was parachuted in as CEO of long-haul LCC AirAsia X and a new CEO at the group’s Malaysian company, AirAsia Berhad.

The new incumbent at AirAsia Berhad, Aireen Omar, and Meranun have signaled a new phase of development at AirAsia, with some cutbacks on both services and aircraft orders in the face of less-than-dynamic growth.

But Fernandes said any departure would cause no changes to the LCC group’s basic business approach of low fares and hub-based expansion throughout the region. He indicated his fellow founders—chairman Aziz Bakar and deputy CEO Meranun—would be likely to leave when he does.

(Jeremy Torr - ATWOnline News)

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