Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lessons From SuperCEO: Azran Osman-Rani, Air Asia X

It was 8pm. Venue - Intercontinental Hotel (previously known as Nikko Hotel).

I thought that the timing was a lil late for a 'corporate' like event. And in some ways, I wasn't too sure whether I should attend. After all, I had 2 hours in between, and we are talking bout heading to downtown Kay El here at the peak hour.

But then again, how often do one get to listen to a SuperCEO? He is after all, Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of Air Asia X. We are talking bout a CEO of a company that is under one group of companies that I believe many Malaysians marvel at.

With this in mind, I made my way to the event..

"He is so plain & simple" I overheard another attendee talking to her cleric. Yes, true indeed, this CEO was  rather casual in his dressing - coming in with a tshirt. While some may be a lil surprised that the did not come in a business suit & all, but this is actually not uncommon for some new day CEOs/ companies.

But what's unique is that this CEO says he reads Calvin & Hobbes for his inspiration. He didn't recommend any big gurus or heavyweight books. The reason he likes it - it gives inspiration on everything being possible (just like the character in the comic).

Now, I know that this CEO is different.. and this is definitely something the younger professionals/ entrepreneurs can relate to..

Anyway, apart from that, here are a few things I learnt from this SuperCEO:
1. Marketing: go out to the market, create that awareness, and make them want.
2. Revenue is important but so is to keeping costs low (low costs is one of the KPIs for them).
3. Information flow in the organisation is important. Break down hierarchies and barriers. Instead make open communication possible to avoid conflicts, and in this case even accidents (he gave the example of how the Pilot & co Pilot can be 'buddies' rather than being 'smarter than thou').
4. Planning is good, but be ready for change - all the time.
5. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them, pull through, and move on (he cites the example like how the airplane bought the 'wrong' seats and then made a RM50m decision to take it all away).
6. Always think out of the box. Do things differently (for example, the target they are targeting is different from the other major carriers).

I love the advise he has given. Not all are new, but still, somethings to be learnt from or refreshed.

In addition, he also shared that while he helms a cool company, but life is just like any other professional/ entrepreneurs. There are fast-heartbeat moments too.

He gave example on how he lead an airline working with just 1 airplane at the start (meaning the plane cant go wrong as it has different destinations to fly to), or the time he had to go to Europe to get funding to buy more planes because of the economy crisis back home, getting rejection/ 'scolding' from the Ministry here, etc etc.

In all, I am pleased to have spent that Monday evening listening to this SuperCEO. 2 words if I may sum it up: Inspiring & Insightful! A Monday evening well spent!

*This event was organised by Young Corporate Malaysians under the YCM CEO Series.

*Btw he also 'teaches' that to start a presentation, its best to lighten the mood with some upbeat music! (AirAsia planes do that all the time too aye?) :)


  1. It's good to know that all great men have a humble beginning. :)

  2. Wow, thank so much for sharing this QuaChee!^^ At least even if we're not there to listen to it personally, we can still read it here in your blog.

    I'm grateful. Looking forward to more information sharing from you. :)


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