Beleaguered Ryanair will be welcoming back Peter Bellew on 1 December 2017, after Malaysia Airlines made the surprise announcement of its CEO’s departure, after only 18 months in the position.
Bellew will take over as COO from current Ryanair COO Mike Hickey. For its part, Malaysia Airlines appear to have been caught unawares by the ‘unexpected’ resignation of Bellew, who had affirmed his ongoing commitment to MAS in a press conference only last month. Malaysia Airlines will now commence the search for a new CEO.
Both Bellew and Ryanair are said to be delighted by his return to the airline. Bellew told media that his decision was not politically motivated nor connected in any way with his comments regarding the ‘contradictions’ in former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad’s biography. Last week Dr Mhathir accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of interfering in the affairs of MAS, and acting without consultation with the airline’s top management and said that this interference led directly to Bellew’s resignation from MAS.
Bellew says Dr Mahathir’s comments are ‘100% inaccurate’, adding that he was simply ready to ‘go home’ to his country and to his ‘old family’, the latter a reference to Ryanair.
“Having worked previously in a senior role in our operations team, Peter has an unrivalled knowledge of our business model and how we maintain controlled growth, with industry leading punctuality, for the benefit of our customers and our people,” said Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary.
“Peter will lead a significant transformation in the way we reward and interact with our pilots, improve their working environment and career development over the coming years as we grow the fleet to some 600 aircraft and expand our traffic, at lower fares, to 200m customers per annum.”