Outgoing Malaysia Airlines CEO on why he quit: “I just want to balik kampung to my people”

There’s been talk of outgoing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) CEO Peter Bellew’s abrupt departure and reasons have been varied.

Some have said that it was due to intereference in his management of the airline from major shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Malaysian government.

Others claim it was due to the memorandum of understanding between MAS and the Boeing Company for aircraft purchases.

And on Sunday (Oct 22), Bellew set the record straight at a press conference to counter allegations over his departure.

In a report by The Star, he said: “It’s simple. I just want to balik kampung (return home) to my people.

“There is no mystery or intrigue in that. My family left in July and I want to be with them.”

Bellew, an Irishman, had earlier said that he would be joining Dublin-based Ryanair on Dec 1 as its CEO due to a sense of responsibility to his native country.

He had submitted his resignation on Oct 8 and is currently on “garden leave”. The news of his departure broke on Oct 17.

Bellew said that MAS’ decision to buy more aircraft was made by the airline because it will need more wide-body and narrow body aircraft over the next few years.

In a blogpost on Oct 20, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad claims that Bellew quit due to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meddling in the affairs of MAS.

Bellew said: “Dr Mahathir is completely wrong in his accusations made about me in the last 72 hours. He is 100% wrong.”

On Oct 20, the Malaysia Aviation Group and MAS announced that Captain Izham Ismail was appointed group CEO and executive director designate with immediate effect, reported The New Straits Times.

He will take on the role on Dec 1 and had previously been MAS’ chief operating officer.