AirAsia X CEO Azran resigns

27 Jan 2015 / 05:40 H.

    PETALING JAYA: Financially troubled AirAsia X Bhd's CEO Azran Osman Rani, who led the start-up team that developed its business plan, has resigned and is currently on garden leave while serving out his notice, according to sources.
    His last day is expected to be this Friday.
    Azran was appointed CEO in July 2010. His initial contract of employment which was for a period of three years, has since been extended by another three years, from July 4, 2013.
    Azran is credited with leading the start-up team that developed the business plan, raised capital, secured relevant licences and approvals, acquired aircraft and launched its inaugural flight to the Gold Coast, Australia in November 2007.
    There was no indication on what Azran would be doing, though it is unlikely that he will be joining another airline. Talk is that he is expected to re-enter the management consultancy industry.
    Azran started out in management consultancy and served a three-year tenure as associate partner in international management consultancy McKinsey Company between 2000 and 2003.
    Rumours of Azran's departure has been going around for months now reaching a peak when the group announced that it had made its biggest losses yet since being listed on the stock exchange around a year ago.
    AirAsia X, which posted its fourth consecutive quarterly loss and its worst showing since its listing in July 2013 announced that it would cut aircraft delivery to 15 from 24 planned over the next three years, sell two aircraft on order and execute more sale and leaseback deals in an effort to bolster its finances last November.
    Last week Azran reportedly denied reports that he was leaving the airline.
    However, industry sources say that Azran has not been at the helm of the airline for a while now, which had led to the appointment of Benyamin Ismail, who was previously group head of investor relations for AirAsia, as deputy CEO.
    The source further added that Robert Milton, a shareholder of Aero Ventures Sdn Bhd, one of the promoters of the initial public offering (IPO) of AirAsia X in 2013, is expected to come in as group CEO of AirAsia X to oversee not only its operations in Malaysia but also its hubs in Thailand and Indonesia.
    Aero Ventures, the founder of AirAsia X Bhd, which counts Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Milton as its shareholders ceased being a substantial shareholder in the group on April 17, 2014. Aero Ventures held a 52.2% stake in the carrier prior to its IPO.
    It is also understood that the consolidation of operations at AirAsia and AirAsia X as reported last week, have led to a number of staff being laid off at group level. Last week alone some 36 staff were laid off and a management committee meeting was held on Sunday to identify other potential redundancies.
    AirAsia group did not respond to queries sent as at press time.
    AirAsia X closed trading yesterday unchanged at 67.5 sen.

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