Thursday, April 3, 2008

Frugal Tony Fernandes

Buffet bought a company immediately when the company target CEO driving around looking for a free parking, tried to save himself 30 cents. I found an interesting story about Tony displays the same frugality. He may be the guy you can trust to run your company. He still stay in a double storey house(though he is in the process of building his dream house) since he first started work and drives to work with Ford Escape. The funny thing about life is people who are passionate about their works will find more successes and not the other way round. Hope my readers will enjoy the article.

The Wall Street Journal
March 28, 2008
Tony Fernandes has to pinch himself whenever he thinks about his multimillionaire status. "It's a bit surreal," says the 43-year-old founder of AirAsia, the region's largest budget airline.

He was born into a middle-class family in Malaysia. His father was a doctor; his mother, a former music teacher, started the country's first Tupperware franchise. After studying accounting at the London School of Economics, Mr. Fernandes returned home to head the local operations of Time Warner Inc.'s music business. He rose to head of the company's Southeast Asian operation before quitting in 2001 to go in the airline business.

"When I started looking at the price of airline tickets, it was a no-brainer. I thought, 'There's got to be a huge opportunity there in serving the masses,'" he recalls. "There's so much happening in Asia; the middle class is growing, but there's also huge demand at the lower end," including a migratory labor force. Plus, he says, people in Asia today want to go on vacations. "When I was a kid we never went on holiday. Television made people want to travel -- we've become much more Western in that way."

He bought AirAsia, then an ailing two-aircraft charter company based in Kuala Lumpur, for 27 cents, and agreed to assume $10 million in debt. Today, the no-frills carrier flies to 53 cities in 13 Asian countries. He's also set up AirAsiaX, a low-cost long-haul carrier currently flying from Malaysia to China, Bangladesh and Australia, and through a company named Tune Ventures, he has interests in a budget hotel, a financial-services company and a mobile-phone service provider.

Mr. Fernandes says he doesn't know exactly what he's worth, but his 48% stake in AirAsia is valued at about $170 million at the current stock price.

Despite his rapid rise to the ranks of the super-wealthy, he says his life hasn't changed much. "I think I'm a fairly simple person. I'm driving myself to work right now in a Ford Escape," he said in a recent phone interview. He and his family live in the same two-story house they had when he worked at Time Warner, and in a country where many upper-middle-class residents have drivers, he ferries his 8-year-old son and his daughter, 14, to school each morning. "I want them growing up in a real world," he says.

In other ways, his lifestyle has changed. Besides frequently flying his family to London to visit relatives, Mr. Fernandes, a self-confessed gadget freak, often indulges his desire for the latest mobile phone. "I would have thought twice about buying a new phone before. I must have bought 50 in the last two years," he laughs.

His one big indulgence is a vacation home in Bali. The one-story, five-bedroom bungalow currently under construction is perched on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. "My dream has always been to have a beach house," he says.

1 comment:

AC said...

Hi Turtle. I found your blog an interesting one. I hope you can stay on course with your plan.