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MAHB CEO most likely be an outsider, but from aviation industry: Sources

Publish date: Thu, 16 May 2024, 06:01 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd's (MAHB) new group chief executive officer (CEO) will most likely be someone from outside the company, sources said.

However, the candidate could still be from the aviation industry, they added.

Business Times learnt that an international head-hunting agency is zeroing on the candidates to helm the national airport operator from the current acting CEO Mohamed Rastam Shahrom. 

"Usually, an acting role would have become permanent after three to six months but not in this case. But it could also be that MAHB would name him (Mohamed) as the permanent CEO after the privatisation," a source said.

Mohamed had officially taken on the role of acting CEO from Oct 25, 2023 following the departure of former MAHB managing director Datuk Seri Iskandar Mizal Mahmood. 

Mohamed, who has over two decades of experience in finance and investment, is currently MAHB chief financial officer.

A local financial media had reported on May 14, quoting sources, that Mohamed would soon be named as MAHB group CEO. 

So far, MAHB has not made any announcement on Mohamed or its head honcho apart from the appointment of former Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) executive chairman Datuk Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi as its non-independent non-executive chairman on May 13. 

Two days ago, MAHB had halted the trading of its shares on Bursa Malaysia following the announcement of its privatisation. 

A consortium led by Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd and national pension fund Employees Provident Fund (EPF) had announced a conditional offer to take MAHB private in a deal worth RM12.3 billion. 

Khazanah, EPF as well as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) had jointly offered to buy all remaining shares they did not already own in MAHB at RM11 per share. 

The companies jointly said in a statement on May 15 that the offer represented a 15.2 per cent premium to the prevailing three-month volume weighted average price of RM9.55 per share. 

The four companies also said they planned to position MAHB for long-term sustainable growth focusing on the upgrade and maintenance of the airport infrastructure, enhancing passenger service and improving airline connectivity. 

Aviation consultancy Endau Analytics founder and aviation analyst Shukor Yusof said MAHB's planned privatisation would not likely improve Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) connectivity unless with national carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd in mind.

"You can't make KLIA a major hub without having a strong national carrier supporting it, like how Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport work together.

"When we talk about connectivity, we can't ignore Malaysia Airlines' role in nation-building," he said, adding that Kuala Lumpur would need to be a major financial or trading centre for the city to become an aviation hub like Singapore's Changi Airport and Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

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