Former Malaysian Airlines and Air Lingues CEO Christoph Muller is said to be the frontrunner in Etihad's hunt to find a CEO, according to sources including Germany daily Handelsblatt Global. The UAE's national airline announced in December that CEO James Hogan would be leaving the company.
Muller revived Ireland's Air Lingus before spending a year as CEO of Malaysian Airlines, giving it new hope after the carrier suffered two plane crashes within the space of months in 2014.
He is also known for his decisions to pack 700 seats aboard Malaysian's six A380s in anticipation of when travellers flock to Mecca for the annual muslim pilgrimage of Hajj.
Muller stepped down as CEO last year citing personal reasons before joining Emirates as its Chief Digital Officer.
Etihad, which announced a shakeup after deciding a revision of Hogan's European strategy was needed, is reportedly also speaking to two others to fill its CEO role which will be vacant by the summer.