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Friday, January 30, 2015

Kamarudin Meranun takes over as AirAsia X CEO

Datuk Kamarudin Meranun is the new AirAsia X CEO, taking over from Azran Osman-Rani today. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 30, 2015.Datuk Kamarudin Meranun is the new AirAsia X CEO, taking over from Azran Osman-Rani today. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 30, 2015.
Datuk Kamarudin Meranun has been appointed as the group chief executive officer of AirAsia X, with Benyamin Ismail as the acting CEO of AirAsia X Berhad.
The appointments were announced today by the board of directors of AirAsia X as part of an ongoing reorganisation exercise.
In this newly created role, Kamarudin will spearhead developing the overarching strategy for the AirAsia X Group, which encompasses AirAsia X Berhad, AirAsia X Thailand and Indonesia AirAsia Extra. 
"Over the past few months, we saw the company facing challenges in a difficult environment," Kamarudin said in statement issued by the company this evening.
"After a thorough review, a decisive turnaround plan was initiated to put the company on substantially better financial footing to ensure we bring back confidence to the market."
AirAsia X also confirmed speculation that Azran Osman-Rani’s would no longer be CEO with effect from today.
Kamarudin expressed confidence that with the turnaround plan in place, the company would uphold its leadership position in the long-haul, low-cost market.
He also said the company would be executing a rights issue and they would be fully underwriting their portion in support of the company.
"We have a solid company here and together with Ben, who has a thorough understanding of the AirAsia and AirAsia X business model and the culture that has made AirAsia a leading airline, I am truly confident in turning this company around and bringing it to profitable growth," Kamarudin said.
Benyamin said the company would continue to expand into new markets to build a stronger regional network.
Benyamin joined AirAsia Berhad in 2010, heading the investor relations team and most recently played the role group head of corporate development, implementation and investor relations.
Speculation had been rife about senior executives leaving the AirAsia group.
The New Straits Times reported that Azran, who had been handpicked by group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes to helm the long-haul subsidiary of the budget carrier, is serving out his notice.
Azran, when contacted, did not confirm or deny his departure but was quoted saying that he would stay on at AirAsia X.
The report, quoting sources, mentioned that AirAsia group had said there would be major changes at AirAsia X, given the losses suffered in the past two years.
Last month, the group suffered its worst set back to date when Indonesia AirAsia flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea.
AirAsia is also said to be facing pressure from intense competition in Southeast Asia amid weak market sentiments.
Two other people rumoured to be leaving are AirAsia X chief financial officer Chew Eng Loke and legal head Hanie Izawatie.
The New Straits Times reported that former president and CEO of Air Canada Robert Milton, who has been a director with AirAsia Bhd since 2013, is said to be playing a more prominent role in the overall operation.
Azran was appointed CEO in July 2010 on a three-year contract, which was renewed for another three years until July 4, 2016. He was previously senior director of business development in satellite television company Astro.
Chew has been CFO of AirAsia X since September 1 while Hanie has been with them since June 2008.

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