HONG KONG. – AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes, who has a net worth of about US$335 million, has created a firestorm on social media after sharing a photo of himself receiving a massage topless during a management meeting.
The co-founder of the Malaysian budget airline posted the image this week on LinkedIn, where he praised the culture of his company but received blowback for fostering what some saw as an inappropriate work environment.
In his post, the business mogul said he’d had “a stressful week,” so a colleague suggested he get a massage. The photo depicted him sitting in an office conference room, having his shoulder rubbed by a masked worker.
“Got to love Indonesia and AirAsia culture that I can have a massage and do a management meeting,” Fernandes wrote.
The post was deleted days later after a wave of criticism, with many LinkedIn users saying his behaviour was unprofessional.
One critic noted it could make other people in the workplace feel uncomfortable.
“I don’t think the women in your company would feel comfortable or safe in this context, and given you’re the boss, they likely won’t challenge you or say anything,” the user commented.
“You are clearly a smart leader that cares about culture but this isn’t the way to create a supportive, safe one.”
The executive declined to comment when reached by CNN.
Fernandes earlier told Bloomberg that he’d just endured an 18-hour flight and was in pain, so he took up the suggestion of the massage.
“You can never really explain the thought process behind a post, so I deleted it,” he was quoted as saying. “I didn’t mean to offend anyone.” – CNN