New Malaysian Airline CEO named


Malaysian Airline System Bhd., the national carrier, named Tengku Azmil Zahruddin as the new chief executive officer to replace Idris Jala, who has been appointed a government minister without portfolio.

Tengku Azmil, who was the company’s chief financial officer, takes over his new position Monday, Malaysian Air said in a stock exchange filing in Kuala Lumpur. It didn’t say who will replace him.

Jala’s departure came as the worst global recession in half a century curbed business travel and eroded profit at the carrier, which also faces increasing competition from local budget airline AirAsia Bhd. Jala, who took charge in 2005 when Malaysian Air posted a record loss, slashed costs and cut jobs to return it to profit in two years.

“The departure of CEO Idris Jala comes at an inopportune time,” Annuar Aziz, Sam Lee and Hung Bin Toh at Credit Suisse Group AG wrote in a report today. “The operating environment is still tough. This reinforces our negative view on the stock,” the analysts said, maintaining their “underperform” rating.

Malaysian Air reported a profit of 876 million ringgit ($248 million) in the second quarter, helped by paper gains from fuel-hedging contracts that masked losses from operations.

Track Record Jala, a former executive at Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Malaysian unit, will be in charge of monitoring the performance of the government and its ministers, Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement Sunday.

“He has a good track record,” and the experience for the job, Najib told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.

Jala said in a text message to Bloomberg that the new appointment is a “national service at the highest level” and that he “will do my very best to make a difference to” the country.