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Malaysia Airlines CEO Mueller cuts short contract

Christoph Mueller, chief executive officer of Malaysian Airline System, speaks during an interview on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit in Singapore, on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016.
SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Christoph Mueller, chief executive officer of Malaysian Airline System, speaks during an interview on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit in Singapore, on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016.

Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive and Managing Director Christoph Mueller will leave in September, well before the end of his three-year contract, the company said on Tuesday.

The airline said in a statement that Mueller was leaving because of "his changing personal circumstances".

Mueller will serve a six-month notice period to September 2016 and has expressed his intention to the Malaysia Airlines board to remain as a non-executive director, the carrier said.

"We are very disappointed to lose Christoph as CEO but we fully understand his reasons and respect his need to do this," chairman Md Nor Yusof said.

Malaysia Airlines has begun a search for a new CEO and is considering both internal and external candidates, it said.

Mueller formally took charge in May last year to lead restructuring efforts at the airline formerly known as Malaysia Airlines Systems (MAS).

Malaysia state investor Khazanah took MAS private in 2014 as part of a 6 billion Malaysian ringgit ($1.5 billion) restructuring aimed at returning the carrier to profit within three years.

MAS suffered twin disasters in 2014 after flight MH370, which was carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared in March. In July 2014 another flight, MH17, was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

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