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INDUSTRY CHAMPION OF THE YEAR & EMINENT LEADERS IN ASIA

Taking AirAsia to new heights

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AIREEN Omar (photo) joined AirAsia in 2006 as director of corporate finance. During her time in that role, her portfolio quickly expanded to include the Treasury, fuel procurement and investor relations functions.

Since then, she has carved an illustrious path for herself at the airline. In the space of just six years, she ascended within the group to achieve the top spot when she was appointed AirAsia Berhad's chief executive officer and executive director in July 2012.

Ms Aireen, 40, is credited with having played a critical role in AirAsia's transformation into one of the biggest low-cost carriers in Asia.

In 2009, at the peak of the global financial crisis which saw credit lines drying up, Ms Aireen assumed Treasury functions, and despite the volatility and pessimism of the economic climate, she managed to raise funds for the entire AirAsia group.

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She was also instrumental in innovating financing structures such as the Islamic French Single Investor Ijarah, an initiative that earned the AirAsia group global recognition for its leadership in the finance world. She also led the team responsible for the equity private placement that in 2009 raised more than half a billion ringgit.

Ms Aireen is also credited with having locked in financing at very competitive rates for the purchase of aircraft. This helped the group to forge further ahead of its rivals, giving it a distinct strategic advantage.

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