Khazanah’s Azman says he’s good until 2019

‘My contract ends on May 31, 2019. Best practices is to announce leadership line-up 6 months in advance’


Khazanah Nasional Bhd MD Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar sidestepped questions over his tenure but said he does not want to overstay, amid talk over his future as the head of the government’s strategic investment arm.

Speaking to reporters at the Khazanah’s Annual Review 2018 yesterday, Azman said he is least perturbed with the expiry of his current contract on March 31, 2019.

“I really don’t want to overstay,” he said when asked whether he would stay if given an extension.

Azman, who had been Khazanah’s MD since 2004, however, dodged questions on rumours of potential early retirement.

“My contract ends on May 31, 2019. Best practices is to announce leadership line-up six months in advance.

“The Board, which is chaired by the prime minister, will sit at the end of the year to look at the matter, thus, by January next year, we will know who will be in charge,” he said.

Azman said Khazanah has also applied best practices to implement an internal succession plan for the top job.

He said all companies, especially large ones, should have internal succession plan for smooth transition.

“For Khazanah, whether it’s internal or external successor is not for me to say,” Azman said when asked about the possibility of an outsider as a successor.

Previous media reports have suggested potential internal successors to Azman, including deputy MDs Tengku Datuk Seri Azmil Zahruddin Raja Abdul Aziz and Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn as well as ED Datuk Hisham Hamdan.

Names of external candidates speculated to be running for the job include CIMB Group Holdings Bhd CEO Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz and president/CEO of 1Malaysia Development Bhd Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Azman was appointed as Khazanah’s MD in June 2004, after he left the boutique advisory company BinaFikir Sdn Bhd which he co-founded in 2002.

BinaFikir planned the wide asset unbundling exercise for now-defunct Malaysian Airlines System Bhd after the government took over the loss-making airline from Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli.

It has gone through several management shake-ups and bailouts since then and has been taken private.

But Azman has found more success in Khazanah, turning it into a key investment fund that has a total assets of RM157.2 billion as of end 2017 with a pretax profit of RM2.89 billion.