Captain Izham Ismail has been named the executive director and group chief executive officer (GCEO) of Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) designate with immediate effect, according to a statement by the company on Oct 20.

The announcement was made by the Board of Directors (Board) of Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) and MAB, detailing that Captain Izham would assume the role of GCEO on 1 December this year upon the departure of current GCEO Peter Bellew.

A board executive committee will be in place for up to six months in order to facilitate a smooth transition, led by chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof. The committee will also include board members Tan Sri Krishnan Tan Boon Seng, Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Isa and Sheranjiv Sammanthan.

Captain Izham’s appointment from the position of chief operating officer (COO) is said to be in line with the succession plan set out by MAB as part of the MAS Recovery Plan (MRP), which provides for the development and succession of local leadership talent.

“The MRP launched by Khazanah Nasional Berhad on 29 August 2014 provides for plans for a local successor, and the succession plan has now been accelerated. We are now in the third year of the five year MRP and it is timely for us to appoint a Malaysian to see it through to the finish line,” said MAB chairman Tan Sri Md Nor.

In a quarterly report, MAB noted that as part of its focus on leadership development and succession planning, 389 leaders within MAG have been trained on building and strengthening their leadership skills and capabilities. The initiative would also be carried out among the middle management group, executives, senior executives and assistant managers.

In addition, the report states that a series of workshops and clinics have been conducted for all employees to institutionalise the MAB’s performance management system (PMS), with approximately 2,500 employees, from executives to general managers, having been trained on KPIs and target setting.

Expressing that he was humbled yet ready for the challenge, Captain Izham added: “We are on track towards a full and complete transformation as outlined in the MRP, and I am looking forward to working with my MH colleagues to make this airline the pride of the nation again.”