MAS Headhunting Factoids

Idris Jala is now in a very hot seat. If you succeed, you will be a superstar. If you don't... well, maybe you get shunted to a state investing arm or public utilities board - gee, the stakes are high indeed. Amidst all the hoopla with the billion ringgit losses, and billion ringgit needed to resuscitate MAS. A few factoids are lost in all the media mangled news:

1) Jala keeps saying that the recovery plan should not be a big problem. If the entire business turnaround plan is not a big problem, why doesn't MAS try and raise the RM3 billion from the capital markets. Let's see if there are any takers, let's see what interest rate they will set (it will be worse than junk-status). Again, Khazanah (or EPF)... lender of last resort??

2) The best performing airline, also in terms of profitability is Singapore Airlines.

3) The best SIA CEO over the past 20 years is a guy named Dr Cheong Choon Kong. Now a director of Singapore Press Holdings since 1 March 1997. He is also the Chairman of Oversea- Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd, Great Eastern Holdings Ltd, The Great Eastern Life AssuranceCo Ltd, United Eagle Airlines Co Ltd and the Overseas Assurance Corporation Ltd.

He was previously the Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Airlines Ltd. He holds a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Mathematics from the University of Adelaide, a Master of Science and a PhD in Mathematics from the Australian National University in Canberra. He was Associate Professor and Head of the Mathematics Department at the University of Malaya before joining Singapore Airlines in 1974. Dr Cheong was named outstanding Chief Executive in 1996 and Fortune magazine’s 1998 Asia’s Businessman of the Year. His stewardship and leadership at SIA was exemplary (albeit his handling of the 2002/2003 wage cuts/ pilots dispute / SAR effect could have been better). Dr Cheong has been quite "available" for any chief executive role for the past 2-3 years. ... and you guessed correctly, Dr Cheong is an ex-Malaysian.

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