AirAsia X appoints new group CEO, co-founders take a backseat

AirAsia Bhd aircraft are parked at Chiang Mai International Airport in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Photographer: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg

Malaysia-listed AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) has appointed AirAsia X Thailand CEO Nadda Buranasiri as its group CEO, effective immediately, it said in a statement on November 1.

Meanwhile, AAX’s co-founders and co-group CEOs Kamarudin Meranun and Tony Fernandes have been redesignated as non-executive directors. Both will continue to oversee the strategic direction of the business and its operations as directors of AAX.

“Nadda (Buranasiri) has had an exceptional career and brings a wealth of experience in a broad range of industries, including senior roles in sales, advertising, banking and the music industry, where I worked with him in 1996 in his role as Managing Director of record label MCA, which later became Universal Music Thailand .

“He joined the aviation industry in January 2014 as CEO of AirAsia X Thailand and has been instrumental in not only setting up our Bangkok-based long-haul operations, but also making it one of the most successful and popular long-haul airlines in Asia. This is a great example of our internal talent development and succession planning for our key leadership roles,” said Fernandes.

Buranasiri joined AirAsia X Thailand in January 2014 and was responsible for setting up Thailand’s first low-cost long-haul airline. He did stints with Siam Cement, Asia Porcelain Industry, American Express Thailand, and J.Walter Thompson, before joining Universal Music Thailand in 1996.

According to AAX, Buranasiri was instrumental in turning AirAsia X Thailand profitable in three years of operations.

Fernandes is currently group CEO of budget airline AirAsia Bhd, while Kamarudin is executive chairman of AirAsia and a non-independent non-executive director of digital insurer Tune Protect Group Bhd.

This July, Fernandes had said that Thai AirAsia X will be seeking an initial public offering soon without divulging further details.

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