Izham Ismail has plenty of experience navigat- ing through turbulence. As a veteran pilot with Malaysia Airlines in the 1980s and 1990s, he set world records for longest and fastest flights by a
commercial airliner. Now, as CEO of the same carrier,
he is confronting the latest phase of one of the industry’s largest turnaround efforts.
Izham was promoted from COO in December, becoming the fourth CEO for Malaysia Airlines in the past
four years. He took the helm at a particularly sensitive
time in the airline’s multiyear transformation program,
as external forces threaten to undermine its progress.
But Izham remains determined to fulfll his vision of
rebuilding the carrier’s culture with customer experience
as its core focus.
Te travails of Malaysia Airlines are well known.
Te carrier endured two of the highest-profle aircraft
accidents in aviation history; frst, when MH370, a
Boeing 777-200ER, disappeared soon after departing
Kuala Lumpur for Beijing in March 2014. Te aircraft
inexplicably veered of course and is presumed to be
in the Indian Ocean, but it was never located, and the
cause of the crash is still not determined. Later that
same year, in July, MH17—also a 777-200ER—was
shot down by a Russian surface-to-air missile as it few
Malaysia Airlines Berhad’s newest leader navigates the
company to a stronger footing. BY ADRIAN SCHOFIELD