Nadda Buranasiri is AirAsia X's new group CEO as co-founders Fernandes, Kamarudin take a back seat

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 1): Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, the co-founders and co-group chief executive officers (CEOs) of AirAsia X Bhd (AAX), are taking a back-seat role from the day-to-day operations at the long-haul, low-cost affiliate of AirAsia Group Bhd as they are re-designated to non-independent non-executive directors effective immediately.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, AAX said Nadda Buranasiri, 56, has been appointed as group CEO of the carrier. Thai national Buranasiri was responsible in the setting up of Thailand's first low-cost long-haul airline when he was recruited as the CEO of Thai AirAsia X Co Ltd (TAAX) in January 2014.

"His leadership brought the company to be profitable within three years of its operations which will be a contributing attribute to his role as the group CEO of AAX," it added.

In a separate statement today, AAX said Fernandes and Kamarudin will both continue to oversee the strategic direction of the business and its operations as directors of the carrier.

According to AAX, Buranasiri began his career with Siam Cement Co Ltd in 1987 and moved on to join the Asia Porcelain Industry before he worked with American Express (Thai) Co Ltd and then he joined J. Walter Thompson as the account group director in 1991.

Thereafter, he was appointed as the managing director (MD) of Universal Music Ltd where he spearheaded the setting up of their operations and subsequently led the company to achieve its status as the market leader of international music in Thailand during his tenure. He was then appointed as the MD of Warner Music Thailand Ltd in 2007 and contributed even more to the Thai music industry.

"Nadda (Buranasiri) has had an exceptional career and brings a wealth of experience in a broad range of industries, including senior roles in sales, advertising, banking and the music industry, where I worked with him in 1996 in his role as MD of record label MCA, which later became Universal Music Thailand,” said Fernandes in the statement.

“He joined the aviation industry in January 2014 as CEO of TAAX and has been instrumental in not only setting up our Bangkok-based long haul operations, but also making it one of the most successful and popular long-haul airlines in Asia. This is a great example of our internal talent development and succession planning for our key leadership roles,” he added.

Meanwhile, Fernandes and Kamarudin, both 57, had assumed their role of co-group CEO of AAX on Jan 1, 2018.

Fernandes is currently group CEO of AirAsia, while Kamarudin is executive chairman of AirAsia and a non-independent non-executive director of Tune Protect Group Bhd. Kamarudin is also a director of Yayasan Pendidikan Titiwangsa.

AAX shares closed unchanged at 23 sen today, with 3.45 million shares done, bringing a market capitalisation of RM954.07 million.