A former Ryanair executive is to take over the running of Malaysia Airlines.

Peter Bellew is to succeed Christoph Mueller as group managing director and chief executive from tomorrow (July 1).

He moves up from the role of chief operating officer of the airline following Mueller’s resignation in March.

Mueller will step down from the board of the airline tomorrow and go on leave until the end of his notice period until September 9.

He will remain available to the company until the end of his notice period to help ensure a smooth leadership transition, the airline said.

Bellew’s appointment follows a “comprehensive search” for a new chief executive since April involving internal, external as well as local and foreign candidates.

Bellew has been a member of the senior management team since September 2015.

He joined the carrier after 10 years at Ryanair, leaving as flight operations director responsible for 72 bases operating a total of 320 aircraft. He was also head of sales and marketing and deputy director of flight operations.

The airline said: “His appointment as the new group managing director and CEO will ensure continuity in the execution of the Malaysia Airlines’ turnaround plan and further progress of the overall restructuring effort, as set out by [shareholder] Khazanah in its 12-point MAS recovery plan.

“It also allows for an accelerated and seamless leadership transition from Mr Mueller.”Malaysia Airlines’ chairman, Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof, said: “Peter has been a key figure in the airline’s senior management team responsible for executing the biggest and fastest transformation in our history.

“He is an exceptional leader and has been an invaluable contributor to the transformation of the airline over the last 10 months.

“Peter and the senior management team have established themselves positively within the company, especially in their rapport with employees, as well as externally among the aviation community.

“In this regard, Peter’s appointment will pave the way for a smooth transition to ensure the continued success of our national airline.

“I would like to thank Christoph for all the work begun under his leadership, which has seen the airline set on a path towards reclaiming its position among the world’s leading airlines.

“The board of directors and I look forward to working with Peter and the senior management team to continue driving the progress and performance of the airline further forward.”