SCwatch


AIR ASIA’S TONY FERNANDES’ LATEST FALL-OUT : IS IT ‘SIGNALLING CHANGE’?

It has been some time that we have focused on this character ….. the Air Asia head honcho recently grabbing headlines in Bangkok and Singapore for his racial ‘white slur’ on his airline rivals in both countries. click HERE and HERE

Contrary to what others think, I like this man. Yes I do like him ….. it’s just that I do not like what he has become!

From a budding eagle eyed officer with Warner Music, he took the big jump by taking over an ailing airline called (Air Asia) from a Malaysian listed company, DRB Hicom, for only RM1.00 and everything else is history.

Yes, he had his frustrations with the bureaucracy in Malaysia and he vented it publicly ….. but he did get noticed and was given concessions by the government.

Love him or hate him, he has done wonders to put the country on the aviation map.

That’s when all the problems began to appear.

He got too big headed for his own good. He felt obliged to meet the expectations of everyone …. to the point that his excesses were questioned in Parliament by ‘turn-coat’ MP, Wee Choo Keong.

This saga actually reminds me of the US conglomerate, the great General Electric, which is synonymous with the equally great Jack Welch …. where in this case, GE went to the extent of having its accounts fudged, vide GE Capital, to meet or beat analysts’ forecasts.

For the record, in 2009, GE was fined US$50 million by the American Securities & Exchange Commission for accounting fraud that dates back to 2002. So much for the great Jack Welch institution!

Coming back to our dear old Tony FernandeS, he may also be in the same ‘dilemma’ predicament as the ex chief of Satyam, Ramalinga Raju, who famously said that ‘it was like riding a tiger and not knowing how to get off  without being eaten’.

Well, at least Tony is fortunate that he is still supported by the government agencies like EPF, which is still a substantial shareholder in Air Asia.

What are his latest plans? God knows …. but some signs are there ….. like the referees in the English Premier League matches now do not wear the ‘Air Asia’ label on their sleeves ….. but that of ‘Tune Group’.

Furthermore, Air Asia’s share price has been, relatively speaking, up in the clouds too.

So could Tony be changing his ‘tune’ in mid air?!

If so, he’d better navigate and fly the plane well especially when the global economic weather is so unpredictable ….. lest he thinks he is too big to fail!


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1 Comment so far
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My biggest fear with airasia is that while “now everyone can fly”, such a highly geared company only needs a couple of blows before something really goes wrong, then the Government might just come along with a bailout, maybe it’ll just one of “too big too fail” scenarios. If it does, let it…

Comment by Paddy




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