Malaysia Airlines CEO quits early
"I am proud of what we have achieved as a team in such a short time and that the hard work of all of our employees is already showing the first signs of success," he said in a statement.
The German picked last year to turn around Malaysia`s ailing flag carrier will quit as CEO in September before the end of his three-year contract, the airline said Tuesday.
Christoph Mueller, Malaysia Airlines` first foreign boss, had previously initiated a rescue plan at Ireland`s Aer Lingus that involved hefty job cuts.
"I am proud of what we have achieved as a team in such a short time and that the hard work of all of our employees is already showing the first signs of success," he said in a statement issued by Malaysia Airlines.
"Unfortunately, personal circumstances will make it difficult for me to complete my full term," he added without elaborating.
He was hired following twin disasters which hit the airline.
In March 2014 flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew aboard, and remains missing.
Four months later flight MH17 was blown out of the sky by a suspected ground-to-air missile over Ukraine, claiming the lives of all 298 passengers and crew onboard.
Last June, soon after he took over, Mueller declared Malaysia Airlines to be "technically bankrupt".
"We are technically bankrupt and that decline of performance started long before the tragic events of 2014," Mueller told a press briefing.
"The restructuring process will start today with a hard reset."
That reset included slashing 6,000 jobs, a trimmed route network and a revamped brand image as part of its recovery plan.
Beset by poor management, Malaysia Airlines had struggled for years to remain competitive, posting losses for most of the past five years.
Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the country`s sovereign wealth fund and the airline`s sole shareholder, said it was working out a succession plan.
It added that Mueller would remain on the Malaysia Airlines board as a non-executive director to see through the leadership transition and continue contributing to the implementation of its recovery plan.
Mohamad Nor Yusof, Malaysia Airlines` chairman, said the airline had gained from Mueller`s leadership.
The appointment of a foreigner had sparked some grumbling in Malaysia, but the German called on employees to pull together to save the airline.
"But let me be clear, I cannot walk on water. What is ahead can only be achieved as a team, a strong team," he said last May. "Please help me to get the job done."