Malaysia Airlines appoints Captain Izham Ismail as new Group CEO

Captain Izham Ismail
Captain Izham Ismail, incoming GCEO, Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) recently announced the appointment of Captain Izham Ismail as Executive Director and Group Chief Executive Officer. He will be replacing Peter Bellew, who is currently on administrative leave.

Despite MAS claims that the appointment is in line with the succession plan that MAB has put in place as part of the 12-point MAS Recovery Plan (MRP), Bellew’s pending departure is sudden and only came to light a few days prior when Irish low-cost carrier Ryan issued a press release claiming that he would be rejoining the airline as chief operations officer.


To ensure a smooth transition, a Board Executive Committee will be in place for up to 6 months. It will be led by Chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof and will include Board members Tan Sri Krishnan Tan Boon Seng, Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Isa and Mr. Sheranjiv Sammanthan.

Captain Izham will assume the role of GCEO on 1 December 2017 upon the departure of Bellew who is currently on administrative leave. He has 38 years of experience in the aviation industry, having started his career with MAS as a pilot in 1979.

Appointed to a management position just 10 years after joining MAS, he has climbed through the ranks over the years, including as Senior Instructor Pilot, Fleet Manager, and Director of Operations. Prior to becoming COO in 2016, he served as CEO of MASwings, Malaysia Airlines’ sister company in Sabah and Sarawak.

As GCEO, Captain Izham will be supported by a strong senior management team comprising Chief Financial Officer, Omar Siddiq; Chief Commercial Officer, Arved von zur Muehlen; Chief Information Officer, Tan Kok Meng and Executive Counsel, Nik Azli Abu Zahar. They will be joined by a new Chief Human Capital Officer, Dato’ Mohd Khalis Abdul Rahim. Dato’ Khalis is currently the Chief Human Capital Officer at Telekom Malaysia Berhad. He has extensive experience in human capital management, having also served several multinational companies over 25 years in the field.