The man dubbed ‘the Terminator’ and charged with restructuring Malaysia Airlines following its annus horribilis in 2014 will headline World Travel Market London 2015’s Aviation Programme.
German-born Christoph Mueller became chief executive in May 2015, tasked with overhauling the Malaysian flag carrier following years of financial losses and the two disasters of 2014.
In March 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared with 239 passengers and crew aboard. Four months later, flight MH17 was shot down while in Ukrainian airspace, with the loss of 298 passengers and crew.
Mueller -who has also held senior roles at Aer Lingus, Belgium’s Sabena and Germany’s Lufthansa – is nicknamed ‘The Terminator’, thanks to his reputation for cutting jobs.
He is axing about 6,000 jobs – reducing the Malaysia Airlines workforce to 14,000 – and is expected to cut unprofitable long-haul routes in the face of stiff competition.
At WTM London 2015, he will talk about how he is dealing with an even greater challenge, at an airline he described as “technically bankrupt”.
Mueller had recruited key new executives to help the turnaround, including Paul Simmons as chief commercial officer and Peter Bellew as chief operations officer.
Simmons has experience with two UK airlines – Flybe and easyJet – while Bellew will join from Ryanair where he has served in roles with increasing responsibility since 2006.
Mueller will be interviewed by WTM aviation expert, John Strickland, Director of JLS Consulting.
Strickland has held senior positions in several airlines during his more than 30 year career in the sector including British Caledonian, British Airways, KLM and Buzz.
Strickland said: “Mueller must have one of the toughest assignments in corporate history.
“Aside from the twin tragedies of 2014, Malaysian had been losing money and struggled with inefficiency, intense competition and political challenges.
“The airline made a bold move to appoint a non-Malaysian as CEO, but Mueller is a seasoned industry executive with a successful track record, so it will be fascinating to hear how he is taking on this challenge and how his previous experience may help.”
WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “Christoph’s unrivalled experience in aviation and the wider travel industry means this session will offer delegates great insights.
“He is a highly respected executive on the global stage, and this will be one of the must-attend events during WTM 2015.”
The keynote interview will take place from 2pm-3pm on Wednesday 4th November, in Platinum Suite 1 at WTM 2015.
The Aviation Programme also features an Airline Industry Panel, which will be on Tuesday 3rd November from 10.30am-11.30am, also in Platinum Suite 1.
This will feature Strickland as moderator, discussing new research into global passenger trends and experience by aviation research and publishing specialist Ink, along with expert panelists from across the industry.
World Travel Market London
World Travel Market London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
Almost 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM London.
WTM London, now in its 36th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.
WTM London 2014 will generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.
World Travel Market
World Travel Market is comprised of the leading leisure travel events in the world; WTM London, WTM Latin America in Sao Paulo, WTM Africa in Cape Town and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.
New events for 2016 are WTM connect Asia and WTM connect China, which join WTM connect Ski and International Golf Travel Market. These unique one-to-one events are targeted at leisure and niche travel markets, allowing exhibitors to exclusively meet with elite hosted buyers.
The World Travel Market events are attended by the global travel and tourism industry’s senior executives to conduct business deals and discover the latest research, insight and opinion.
In 2014, World Travel Market events facilitated around $7 billion in industry deals from negotiations between the more than 15,000 buyers, 9,500 exhibitors (1,500 main stand holders and 8,000 stand sharers) in attendance of its four events. WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions.
Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading travel and tourism events organiser, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 22 international events in 13 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf and ski travel.
RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.