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Malaysia Airlines CEO Mueller to leave in September

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia Airlines Berhad's (MAB) 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 Mueller was leaving because of "his changing personal circumstances".

Mr Mueller will serve a six-month notice period to September 2016 and has expressed his intention to the MAB 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," MAB Chairman Md Nor Yusof said.

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

Mr 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 RM6 billion (S$2.07 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.