Kathleen Tan is widely credited for making AirAsia a success as the airline's Regional Head of Commercial and Senior Vice President of China from 2004 to 2013.
During her tenure, fleet size increased from 17 to 143 aircraft, revenue surged 14-fold to over RM5 billion and the carrier secured the first of many Skytrax World's Best Low-Cost Airline awards. An innovator, Tan has championed a wide array of ancillary and partner products as well as marketing campaigns, introducing AirAsia's signature seats promotion by giving away one million discounted seats in 2005.
She also spearheaded AirAsia's social media strategy and development, laying the ground for the airline's top-ranked presence on social media with more than 46 million followers on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LINE, Instagram and many others. Tan herself has over 380,000 fans on Sina Weibo and is one of the Top 2,000 most influential social media users out of some 600 million Weibo users, with her individual account ranking fourth among airlines in China.
Tan then helmed AirAsia Expedia, turning around the loss-making joint venture and making it North Asia's best online travel agent. She now focuses on providing leadership and strategic direction to AirAsia in mainland China as the airline's President of China.
Tan has received numerous accolades, including Industry's Most Influential Person by China Finance Summit and Global Top 50 Marketer by travel site Skift, and was dubbed an "aviation legend" by Chinese search engine Baidu. She was also featured in The Apprentice Asia, where she was a judge and acted as advisor to Tony Fernandes.
Tan began her career in advertising and marketing, working her way up to Divisional Head of Marketing for Southeast Asia at FJ Benjamin before moving to Warner Music, where she was Regional Marketing Director of Warner Music Asia Pacific and later Managing Director of Warner Music Singapore before leaving in 2004 to join AirAsia.