One of Asia’s most recognizable entrepreneurs, Tony Fernandes is best known for co-founding low-cost carrier AirAsia with Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and changing air travel in the region. Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin bought the ailing airline for a token MYR1 (approximately USD0.25) and MYR40 million in debt, turning it around within two years and growing it from a Malaysian domestic carrier into Asia’s largest low-cost carrier by passengers carried.
Since 2018, Fernandes has been spearheading a digital transformation of his businesses, revealing Airasia’s new identity in October 2020 as Asean’s super app, a comprehensive lifestyle platform, which offers travel, ready-made food, fresh produce, health products, and fintech services, including BigPay and logistics venture Teleport. He is currently the CEO of Capital A, an investment holding company with a diverse portfolio of synergistic businesses.
Fernandes studied at Epsom College and the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK, and he qualified as an Associate Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 1991 and Fellow Member in 1996.
An accountant by training, Fernandes began his career in Richard Branson’s Virgin Group before returning to Malaysia as Warner Music Group’s Vice President for Southeast Asia before venturing into the airline and digital businesses. Fernandes has received numerous honors and awards over the course of his career.
These include the Honour of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011, and the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur, awarded by the French government for his outstanding contributions towards the economy of France through the aviation industry. He also received the Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) award conferred by Yang Di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, which carries the title Tan Sri.