scorecardAirAsia exec posts shirtless photo of himself getting a massage during a 'management meeting,' sparking debate
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AirAsia exec posts shirtless photo of himself getting a massage during a 'management meeting,' sparking debate

Kylie Kirschner   

AirAsia exec posts shirtless photo of himself getting a massage during a 'management meeting,' sparking debate
LifeThelife2 min read
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes posted a picture of himself receiving a massage while shirtless at work.    AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade
  • AirAsia co-founder Tony Fernandes posted a picture of himself receiving a massage while shirtless at work.
  • The LinkedIn post generated debate online, with many saying it was unprofessional.

AirAsia co-founder Tony Fernandes has sparked debate online after posting a photo on LinkedIn showing himself getting a shirtless massage during a management meeting.

"Was a stressful week and Veranita Yosephine suggested a massage," Fernandes wrote on LinkedIn early Monday morning, referencing AirAsia Indonesia CEO Veranita Yosephine. "Got to love Indonesia and AirAsia culture that I can have a massage and do a management meeting."

The photo shows Fernandes sitting without a shirt in an office chair at what looks like a conference table, looking at a tablet device while a person wearing an apron, hairnet, and face mask stands behind him and massages his shoulders.

Tony Fernandes AirAsia massage
Fernandes posted a photo of himself getting a massage during a business meeting on LinkedIn      Tony Fernandes/LinkedIn

Dozens of commenters on LinkedIn quickly weighed in on the post, with many seemingly flabbergasted at the move.

Some LinkedIn users commented in favor of Fernandes' in-office massage and the kind of work culture that would allow for it.

"This is handling stress management the right way," one business owner commented, while an airport employee commented that "AirAsia indeed has the most Employee friendly Work Culture."

Others were far more critical, however, calling it unprofessional for work and pointing out that it might create an uncomfortable work environment.

"A grown man, who is the chief executive of a publicly listed company, conducts a management meeting with his shirt off as he gets a massage," one marketing director commented. "Remove 'who is the chief executive of a publicly listed company' and it is still inappropriate."

Another commenter appeared to make a sexual reference to a "happy ending" massage, drawing criticism.

"This behaviour, the comments about 'happy endings,' and the lack of self awareness to sit in a meeting topless is such a concern," the marketing strategist commented on the post. "Few people will challenge the boss or feel comfortable speaking out about it — but I assure you most women will not feel comfortable with this. Please, for their sake, listen to the women sharing their views on this."

Spokespeople for AirAsia and AirAsia Indonesia did not respond to Insider's requests for comment, and the LinkedIn post has since been taken down.

Fernandes bought the then-struggling AirAsia brand in 2001 from a conglomerate owned by the Malaysian government, and is credited with turning it into one of the most popular budget airlines in Asia.

AirAsia was the fourth-largest airline in Asia at its peak with more than 200 aircraft and 21,000 staff members, Insider previously reported, but hit a hard downturn during the pandemic, with its operations in Japan and Thailand going bankrupt.

Fernandes is working to step away from AirAsia to focus on other ventures. In November 2022 he stepped down as group CEO of AirAsia X, AirAsia's long-haul operations arm, and is reportedly working to find a successor for himself at AirAsia as a whole. He rebranded AirAsia group, the investment holding company that owns AirAsia and several other brands, to Capital A in January 2022, and plans on shifting his focus to Capital A's other areas of business. He remains CEO of Capital A.




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