By HABHAJAN SINGH
The Malaysian-based International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) is set for a major leadership shake-up with the departure of its two most senior management members.
Its president/CEO Daud Vicary Abdullah and deputy president Prof Datuk Dr Syed Othman Alhabshi are set to leave the Islamic finance (IF) university set up in 2005 with a RM500 million endowment fund from Bank Negara Malayia (BNM).
It is understood that Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Azmi Omar, the current DG of the Jeddah-based Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), has been tapped to helm the university.
“Prof Mohamed Azmi has got the central bank’s blessings,” an IF industry executive with knowledge of the succession planning told The Malaysian Reserve. When contacted, Mohamed Azmi declined to comment.
INCEIF, which was conferred the university status in 2006, holds the distinction of being the world’s first and only international university specialising in IF.
It came about as part of Malaysia’s plan to push forward the IF agenda, a key sector where the nation sees itself as having some advantages, including a large affinity Muslim population.
In the words of former BNM govenor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, at INCEIF’s 10th anniversary, the idea was to establish a postgraduate learning institution in IF, which would be at the forefront of producing high- calibre practitioners and professionals in the industry, as well as specialists and researchers in the disciplines of IF.
Its first president/CEO was Datuk Md Agil Mohd Natt, then an ED and deputy president of Malayan Banking Bhd. Among others, Agil is currently the Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd chairman.
It is understood that Mohamed Azmi will assume the role in a few months’ time as he relinquishes his position at IRTI, the research and training arm of the multilateral development financing institution Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
“In the meantime, the COO will play the lead role,” the same industry executive said.
INCEIF COO Dzalin Ayub has been designated as the acting president/CEO, while Ezamshah Ismail, the university’s dean for School of Professional Studies, has been designated as the acting deputy president for academic.
Mohamed Azmi is the first Malaysian to hold the top IRTI position. In 2012, he was selected from 16 other international candidates vying for the post.
IRTI was established in 1981 with the principal aim to undertake research, training and advisory activities in Islamic economics and IF, and to facilitate the economic, financial and banking activities in IDB member countries to conform to Shariah.
Prior to IDB, Mohamed Azmi was the professor at the Department of Finance, Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), and dean of IIUM Islamic Banking and Financial Institute.
He was the former deputy rector in charge of academic and research from 2002 until 2008. He had also served as the dean of IIUM’s Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences from 1996 to early 2002.
He obtained his Bachelor and Master degrees in finance from Northern Illinois University, the US, and Doctor of Philosophy from Bangor University, Wales.
He was formerly the Shariah advisor to Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia.