Tony Fernandes Resigns As Acting AirAsia X Group CEO

Despite the recent appointment, Tony Fernandes now cites “other commitments” for his exit

KUALA LUMPUR: Tony Fernandes has resigned as AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) group CEO, months after he was appointed to the post.

Fernandes cited “other commitments” for his decision to step down, according to a filing to Bursa Malaysia.

The filing did not give any other reason for the resignation at the time of writing.

However, a statement from the AAX newsroom today announced key changes in the senior management team as it prepares for the next phase of growth as a mid-range airline.

“Tony Fernandes, who was recently appointed as the Acting Group CEO in addition to his position as a Non-Independent Non-Executive Director of AAX in July this year, will be stepping down from his senior leadership positions with AAX, ensuring a smooth transition in leadership.

“Tunku Dato’ Mahmood Fawzy will be appointed as the Independent Non-Executive Director of Thai AirAsia X (TAAX), both effective as of today,” the statement added.

On July 8, Fernandes was redesignated as AAX acting group CEO.

Tony Fernandes: I have achieved my mandate

The statement quoted Fernandes as saying that he had accomplished his mandate to restart AirAsia X with a plan for 20 aircraft for the group – 13 for AAX and seven for Thai AAX.

He said the airline group has managed to improve its cost structure and created the cargo business, which had contributed about 20% of the airline’s revenue during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It will continue to play a vital role in the recovery of AAX,” he said.

Fernandes said he will now focus on delivering value to shareholders of Capital A Bhd, including the AirAsia Aviation Group, aviation services, logistics, travel, fintech and the e-commerce lifestyle platform.

Fernandes, 58, was first appointed as AAX acting group CEO, as well as its non-independent non-executive director on July 8, following the resignation of Nadda Buranasiri as the group CEO in April, who had quit his post as CEO of Thai AirAsia X Co Ltd (Thai AAX). 

The group then updated two weeks ago in an amended announcement to Bursa Malaysia on 14 Oct that Fernandes had also been redesignated as a non-independent executive director.

PN17 Condition

According to the Edge Markets’ report, Fernandes’ resignation came just days after AAX announced it is in the midst of formulating a comprehensive proposed plan to regularise its Practice Note 17 (PN17) condition.

This follows the lapse of an extension of time granted by Bursa Securities on Oct 26 for AAX to complete the implementation of its corporate exercises announced in May last year, which entail the raising of up to RM116 million via a one-for-one rights offering, together with a special issuance to raise RM50 million.

Under its latest proposed regularisation plan, AAX said it had on Oct 12, via AmInvestment Bank Bhd, submitted an application to Bursa Securities for an extension of time of six months up to April 28, 2023, for the airline to submit the plan to the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) or Bursa Securities.

AAX triggered the criteria for PN17 classification last October, after its external auditors, Messrs Ernst & Young PLT, had expressed a disclaimer of opinion on the airline’s audited financial statements for the 18-month financial period ended June 30, 2021.

AAX shares, which finished unchanged at 39.5 sen, are down 39.23% year to date. The airline’s market capitalisation now stands at RM161.8 million. – NMH

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