Iman Marco: Trailblazing Leadership in the Global Airline Industry


In the ever-evolving landscape of the air cargo industry, visionary leadership remains an indispensable element for success. Leaders in this field must possess a unique blend of innovation, resilience, and strategic thinking to navigate the challenges and opportunities that come their way. It's in this dynamic arena that Iman Marco, the CEO of World Cargo Airlines, shines as an exemplary figure.

Iman Marco's journey as one of the youngest global CEOs in the air cargo industry is nothing short of remarkable. His leadership prowess has not only caught the attention of industry insiders but has also earned him international recognition, securing his place among the esteemed Global 200 Inspirational Leaders of 2023.

What sets Iman apart is not just his youth but his exceptional talent, poised to propel the Asia Cargo Network Group to unparalleled global prominence. He has not only demonstrated a keen understanding of the industry but also orchestrated highly successful fundraising endeavors that injected over USD 100 million in capital. These funds have been meticulously allocated to acquire new aircraft and implement expansive Group initiatives, thus reinforcing the company's financial foundation and positioning it for sustainable growth. In this one on one interaction, we delve into the leadership journey of Iman Marco, the driving force behind Asia Cargo Network's ascent in the air cargo industry. Let’s hear from him.

Could you please provide a brief overview of your professional path and explain what inspires your daily routines?

I once faced a critical crossroads in my career where I had to decide between pursuing a legal profession or entering the business world in Malaysia. I chose the latter, specializing in legal matters for a new leasing branch. Over time, I progressed through essential positions within the company, gaining extensive experience in areas like aircraft and logistics operations, corporate and legal affairs, legal matters, finance, and business development. For the past five years, my primary focus has been on comprehending the intricate workings of the aviation industry, encompassing both its operational intricacies and corporate landscape. This understanding has allowed me to set a visionary path for our company's future. My daily motivation springs from a deep desire to redefine the future for the next generations of my family, cultivating a global perspective that goes beyond conventional boundaries.

What strategies has Asia Cargo Network employed to sustain its position as a prominent air cargo airline operator since its establishment in 1970?

The core of our achievements at Asia Cargo Network can be attributed to our firm adherence to our foundational company principles, with integrity being a standout value. These principles have been instrumental in building a strong and enduring market reputation, remaining steadfast even during challenging periods. Our unwavering dedication to these principles has firmly established us as a reliable and prominent player in the air cargo industry.

In my role as the CEO, what key considerations do you give priority to when crafting successful corporate expansion plans?

As the CEO, there are several pivotal aspects that take center stage when devising strategies for corporate growth. Firstly, I place great importance on conducting thorough internal evaluations, which encompass financial scrutiny, future projections, and the effective management of our operations.

"The ability to be agile and responsive is fundamental for successfully navigating the continually shifting business landscape"

Secondly, I place a strong emphasis on the evaluation of strategic components, such as fundraising plans and resource allocation, and the choice between vertical or horizontal expansion, all of which are subject to meticulous examination. Lastly, I continuously monitor the global market conditions and potential geopolitical developments, both current and future. In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, it's essential for most industries to remain vigilant and adapt as the world undergoes constant transformation.

What are the kinds of principles you ensure the team follows that supports a thriving culture scoring people and organizational goals?

To foster a thriving culture that aligns with both individual and organizational goals, certain principles are upheld, including open and transparent communication, support for individual long-term growth plans, and a clear and shared organizational vision.

What is your perspective on Asia Cargo Network's foray into the UK market to provide aviation leasing solutions to a global clientele?

Our expansion into the UK is well-timed. Historically, we primarily concentrated on direct retail air cargo sales. However, due to the turbulence in the air cargo market, we decided to diversify our business approach by incorporating leasing services.

In your view, what are the challenges currently facing the aviation industry?

The aviation sector is contending with the unpredictability of crude oil and jet fuel prices. Furthermore, the perception of an under-regulated open market has led to fierce competition. Achieving equilibrium and maintaining stability within this environment represents a significant challenge.

What is your perspective on the sentiment of stakeholders in the Southeast Asian region regarding the air cargo industry? Are there indications of growing optimism, and where should investment priorities be directed?

Stakeholders in the Southeast Asian region are exercising prudence rather than optimism. The world has come to recognize that even seemingly distant geopolitical affairs can significantly impact their business operations. I would recommend investing in technological advancements, provided suitable options are available. Businesses should strive to distinguish themselves from their competitors by enhancing the quality or speed of their services. I would also advise businesses to invest and transition into ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices, as this aligns with the current global momentum and is becoming an increasingly inevitable aspect of business sustainability.

What are your expectations for the market, specifically in terms of how the latest technologies can be leveraged for internal enhancements and improved customer satisfaction? How do you envision Asia Cargo Network capitalizing on this opportunity in the future?

Despite noticeable technological progress in the air cargo industry, substantial innovations in internal improvements that would significantly elevate over­all customer satisfaction have yet to materialize. We foresee further advancements in this regard, which could become more pronounced in the near future.

Considering your professional expertise, what guidance would you offer to aspiring industry leaders?

Based on my experience, I recommend that up-and-coming industry leaders to always be vigilant for external factors beyond your control that may disrupt your business. In an increasingly competitive world, staying proactive is essential to avoid missing out on opportunities. Continuously explore potential growth opportunities in places where others might not be looking.

Where do you see yourself headed in the future?

I have an extensive journey ahead of me, and I intend to pursue horizontal growth within the industry. I envision a deeper involvement in the financial markets, exploring ways to integrate them into our business.

Iman Marco, CEO, World Cargo Airlines

Iman is an exceptional talent poised to elevate the Group's presence to unparalleled global prominence. Notably one of the youngest global CEOs in the airline industry, he has been internationally recognised for his leadership capabilities, securing a spot among the Global 200 Inspirational Leaders of 2023.

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