MAS has announced it's new CEO after a global search for one. After 14 years of failure, Khazanah Nasional finally learned that it takes an Airliner to run an Airline.
It cannot be run by a Bank CEO (except for the interim period to effect the financial rationalisation) or a salesman or marketing man, or an Oil and Gas man part timing as Power Point salesman, or an Accountant from PW London or an ex CEO of an IPP company.
The new CEO for MAS newco will be the current CEO of Aer Lingus, Christoph Mueller. It was announced yesterday as Khazanah's new surprise. [Read Reuters report in Irish Times here.]
From his name, he sounds German but not much is known of him yet. Not much is known yet of what he had done at Aer Lingus. And not much is known yet of the relevence of his experience at Aer Lingus to turnaround MAS.
Since MAS was one of the major global player in world aviation, Malaysians may not be familiar with the name Aer Lingus. For sure, it is not part of a woman anatomy.
Walking on air
Naturally Malaysians would ask as to why pick a foreigner? This is ot the first time. Many previous attempts have been made but the foreign CEO ended designated with different assignment. Their presence have not shown any turnaround.
One would only expect Khazanah being labelled of having a mindset still beholden and subservient to the orang putih colonials. Or, as one Penangite in our WA group described, Khazanah people as OPPM for Orang Putih Pungkoq Hitam or similar to banana to describe Singaporean, yellow outside but white inside.
All the while Khazanah is known more as a close knit of in-breeding bunch of CFA and CPA with absolutely no knowledge of business or operations, but just number crunchers, balance shit shufflers, and consumer of celebrity management guru books. That's why Khazanah loves to sponsor talks.
Airline business really suit them well. Just like some politicians after holding post in government for a while, they stop walking on solid ground but start to walk on air.
At least now, there is an airliner who should be doing things not according to management textbook theories but with actual knowledge and experience in airline practices and norms before doing something extraordinary or out of the ordinary.
Airline management require hard and soft skills in balancing between high technology of aviation and customer service similar to hotel service of three star and above. Maybe the soft side skill is not relevant for low cost airlines because passengers are willing to be treated like livestock shipped from Australia to Port Klang.
One member of our WA group quipped that a conman can still run a successful low cost airline. That is a good one.
The conman he is referring to is notable as a salesman and spokesman with skills in the art of gimmick but the underlying brain is the ANSARA member and his financial model. Their real test of a model based on a hollow pyramid of rising PE will come as they weather the upcoming economic storm.
Another issue raised this morning was why the OPPM at KLCC refused to take up Tan Sri Aziz Abdul Rahman's Jentayu Danaraksa's proposal. Heard the proposal is along MAS outsourcing plan and is for the engineering unit, Firefly and others. It sounds interesting to hear them want to save the 6,000 job.
It is not so much his attempt to impress a celebrity to replace a troublesome relation with former TV celebrity with his MAS proposal. But, this control freak used to go around claiming himself as Director of Investment Banking at MIMB when the post only exist after he left and given to an ex-Maybank.
He faked an unregistered NGO to tag along wherever Tun Mahathir and Dato Mukhriz but at MOE, he directed bloggers to take stabs at Tun M when he opposed the cancellation of PPSMI.
Jentayu Danaraksa has another personality who is an aviation analyst. Has he run any aviation company?
Thus far, not much is known of their proposal. The key issue is the money and management. MP for Titiwangsa, Dato Johari raised the money issue in Parliament. As far as Tan Sri Aziz, he is too old to do day to day management. So what that the union support?
In MAS, one cannot trust the unions. They had been one of the key factor in MAS downfall. Part of the reason to have a MAS newco was to bust the unions. That we agree.
Heard Tan Sri Aziz is also involved with another effort. Not much is known yet except that it has the concurrence of one Khazanah officer and involves several ex-MAS Managers.
Save for what had been said, Khazanah seemed to be listening. They took in Celcom's Dato Shazally Ramli on the Baord and given ex-MAHB Chairman, Tan Sri Bashir a role likely to appease the leaving staff.
However, they should rid off the Chairman, Tan Sri Mohd Nor Yusof and more Directors from Tun Abdullah era. How could they keep the same bunch of failures around?
It is the same with Khazanah's textbook thinkers who strongly believed in out-sourcing which keep failing for the last 14 years. Have they not learned from the failure to our-source catering and IT?
It is heard that MAS turnaround is a goldmine for lots of consultants. Not so much a case of being obtuse, but as told earlier, it only shows Khazanah know nuts of operations and are incapable of doing any operational turnaround.
Was Muller taken in because he agrees with the approach taken by Khazanah or he convinced Khazanah with a better turnaround strategy? And, can he be the "Gerd" Muller to score goals of rising revenue?
It is sickening to keep listening of endless cost cutting program to translate the revenue into profitability.
A quick reference to Wikipedia here shows Aer Lingus is not a part of the woman anatomy. It is similar to MAS in the sense that both are national and legacy airline. It is older than MAS and had been around since 1936. Both had undergone its period of expansion, success and decline.
Aer Lingus was listed on the Dublin Stock Exchange in 2006. Soon after, another Irish airline, the low cost Ryan Air launched a takeover bid in October 2006. It was blocked by EC's version of anti trust regulation. Both Aer Lingus and Ryan control 80% of flight in and out of Dublin.
As all legacy airlines, Aer Lingus was affected by globalisation and open sky. In 2008, they begin a cost saving plan. Muller came on board in 2009 to undertake a more radical cost cutting and was adamant to cut more. Maybe that is where he fit in into Khazanah plan.
Muller came to Aer Lingus from TUI Travela and Sabena.
At Aer Lingus, he made unions to agree to his cost cutting plan. He moved away from a head-to-head competition with Ryanair for a more hybrid model with a stronger emphasis on service.
Customer service had always been MAS strength and forte until some turnaround idiot see MAS Academy as cost leakage. The current HR Director, Zaharah Zaid hired someone whose idea of training is to outsource to fellow cronies.
Mueller undertook long haul expansion, wet lease agreement, and alliance back to Oneworld.
Since Muller entry into Aer Lingus, Ryan did two more takeover bids in 2008-2009 and 2012. MAS-Air Asia "collaboration' failed in 2012.