ISLAMABAD – In July, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed former bureaucrat Dr Musharaf Rasool Cyan as Pakistan International Airlines’ new Chief Executive Officer.
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A lot of people are not familiar with the new PIA CEO and his contributions to the country leading to confusion about his professional profile. Dr Musharaf Rasool Cyan has vast experience in the field of public sector management and reforms. This choice seems to be addressing the chronic mismanagement and absence of organizational leadership in PIA.
He has worked 15 years in Pakistan and 12 years internationally, often in management and leadership roles. These assignments have involved public sector reforms, management innovation, employee behaviour change and economic development. He has a mix of world-class quantitative and modern analytic skills as well as hands on management experience. Dr Musharraf Rasool Cyan holds a PhD in Economics from Georgia State University and MSc in Development Management from University College London.
He stood first in the nationwide competitive exam for civil service in 1990 and won gold medals for his performance in the management courses in the Civil Service Academy. His doctoral studies in economics focused on pricing, consumer behaviour, taxation, investment in public assets, quantitative methods and analytical tools for efficiency and effectiveness.
In his PhD, he also studied the competitive aviation industry and evolution of newer trends in the industry in North America. He has also acquired training from Embry-Riddle University on aviation management.
After his PhD, he worked at Andrew Young School of Policy Studies in the area of public finance. The academic institution is ranked among the top 5 seats of learning in this subject in the world. His work with public sector finance and investments in public assets will be of particular relevance. PIA operates in a competitive aviation industry and at this stage requires sound business planning, financial management, market expansion, performance oriented employee management and upgrades in PIA systems. Dr Cyan possesses the right mix of credentials in these areas.
In the public service sector, Dr Cyan is known for his integrity, dedication to professional standards and competence in government circles of Pakistan. He has wide ranging experience in implementation of public sector programs in Pakistan, assuming leadership roles from an early age and managing multiple agencies under his control.
In addition, he has led design and implementation of public sector reforms in senior roles. From 2002 to 2005 he led the implementation of decentralization reform at the federal level under a $300 million country wide program, financed by the Asian Development Bank, which included several federal ministries, four provincial governments and all local governments across Pakistan. As part of this program, he implemented a $30 million performance enhancement program in public sector organizations across the four provinces of Pakistan.
Earlier in his career, he worked in senior public sector management positions in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, where as Chief Economist he spearheaded implementation and management of the province’s multi-billion rupee development program and supervised a large number of projects and programs in multiple sectors. In his district and municipal assignments, he honed his skills in human resource management.
In recent years, after completing his doctorate in economics, he has worked in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Jordan, Macedonia, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, and the United States of America. These assignments have involved public sector reforms, behaviour change and economic development. He has provided technical assistance to World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United National Development Program, USAID and other international organizations. In addition to his record of 26 years of work in service delivery and economic development, he has authored numerous reports and papers on the public sector in Pakistan and has recently published a book titled Taxation for Pakistan’s Revival, Oxford University Press (2015).