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Tigerair CEO steps down after 21 months

Tiger Airways Holdings chief executive Koay Peng Yen has resigned after serving in the role for less than two years, to be replaced by a Singapore Airlines (SIA) veteran.

The loss-making low cost carrier revealed Koay’s departure in a stock exchange statement. He will be succeeded by Lee Lik Hsin, a 20-year veteran of SIA.

“During his tenure, the Tigerair Group endeavoured to improve the fortunes of its overseas cubs, Tigerair Australia, Tigerair Philippines and Tigerair Mandala,” says Tigerair.

“However, turbulence in those markets hampered fledgling carriers from establishing a decisive hold. Consequently, Tigerair sold 60% of its Australian cub to Virgin Australia, withdrew entirely from Tigerair Philippines and curbed the network of Tigerair Mandala.”

The new chief executive, Lee Lik Hsin, joined the struggling LCC in July 2013 as a non-executive director. To take up the top job at Tiger, he will depart from his current position at SIA, where he is president of the carrier’s cargo division – SIA owns a 40% stake in Tiger Airways. Over the years he has served in a number of roles within SIA, both in Singapore and overseas.

Koay’s departure follows a dismal 2014 fiscal year. For the financial year ended 31 March, the carrier suffered a S$52 million ($41.5 million) loss, with revenue falling 15.3% to S$734 million.

Over the fourth quarter, the airline recorded an operating loss of S$24.2 million, compared to a profit of S$12.7 million in the previous corresponding period. Revenues over the three months sank by 32.7% to S$126 million, largely as the airline no longer recognised revenue from Tigerair Australia.

Tigerair Singapore was particularly hard hit during the quarter, as yield fell 16.3% to 6.38 Singapore cents per RPK and load factor dropped 9.1 percentage points to 75.1%.

The quarterly net profit was particularly impacted by a S$21.5 million in exceptional charges from its investments in Tigerair Mandala and Tigerair Australia.

Koay will remain as a non-executive board director until the company’s annual general meeting on 31 July.

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