Christoph Mueller’s plan to double job is pie in the sky

Incoming Malaysia Airlines chief faces 22,000km round trip for An Post and Tourism Ireland board meetings

Christoph Mueller, chief executive officer of Aer Lingus Group. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Christoph Mueller, chief executive officer of Aer Lingus Group. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

 

When outgoing Aer Lingus boss Christoph Mueller starts his new job as chief executive of Malaysia Airlines next spring, he may find it difficult to keep his feet on the ground. Quite literally, as it happens, because he is going to spend most of his time criss-crossing the sky.

Airlines bosses fly a lot as it is. Chefs taste a lot of food, journalists read a lot of newspapers and airline bosses step onto a lot of aircraft. It just comes with the territory.

Mueller, however, has taken the frankly barmy decision to combine his job over in far flung Malaysia with his other roles here, as chairman of An Post and a director of Tourism Ireland.

Let’s take a little look at what this will entail for him in practical terms.

As the chairman of An Post, Mueller is responsible for managing its relationship with the Government, acting as the board’s bridge to its executives and organising all “the business of the board”. Or so it says in its annual report.

An Post is possibly the most critical State-owned company, outside of the energy companies and CIÉ, in terms of its importance to the smooth running of the rest of the economy. The chairman, at the very least, has to attend all the board meetings or he may as well not do the job. There are 12 of those each year.

Mueller also chairs An Post’s remuneration committee, which meets four times a year. But let’s assume he can also fit those in when he is back in Ireland for regular board meetings.

It is 14 hours’ flying time from Kuala Lumpur to Dublin, plus a stopover en route. The entire journey is a round trip of 22,000km. For a meeting.

Mueller is likely to start in Malaysia in March but intends to also see out his term at An Post, which ends in March 2018. Over the three years he will clock up more than half a million air miles. Jetlag, how are ya?

Then there is Tourism Ireland, where the whole point in having Mueller on the board in the first place was that he headed up the second-biggest carrier of tourists on to the island. Its board meets eight times each year. Last year, Mueller missed two of those. And that was when he was living in Howth.

Presumably, Tourism Ireland won’t schedule its eight board meetings to coincide with those of the State-owned postal company. So add those on to Mueller’s air miles. The man will have the carbon footprint of a peat power plant.

Is this German efficiency?

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