Changes at the top for PNB, 1MDB starting July

Former BNM governor Zeti replaces Abdul Wahid as PNB’s group chairman

By NG MIN SHEN / Pic By TMR File

The shake-up at the top continues, with key figures at Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) resigning or being requested to leave over the past few days.

PNB announced in a statement last Friday that Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar would retire as group chairman of PNB and trustee of Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputera (YPB) with effect from June 30.

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) previously reported that Abdul Wahid was expected to resign as group chairman soon, with negotiations underway for exit terms in both PNB, the investment arm of YPB and Sime Darby Property Bhd, at which he is also chairman following the demerger of the Sime Darby Bhd group.

Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and a member of the Council of Eminent Persons, replaced him asgroup chairman of PNB with effect from July 1, 2018.

“The boards of YPB and PNB welcome the appointment of Zeti and expressed confidence that given her longstanding and vast experience, she will continue to provide strong leadership to the PNB group in pursuing its founding mandate to enhance corporate wealth for the benefit of Malaysians,” PNB announced in a statement.

PNB also thanked Abdul Wahid for his “invaluable contribution and dedicated service” as group chairman of the fund management firm, adding that it “appreciates the leadership provided by Abdul Wahid and the guidance that he has provided to the board and management of PNB and its investee companies since his appointment in August 2016”.

“During his time with PNB, Abdul Wahid has set a roadmap for PNB to achieve three broad mandate deliverables — delivering enhanced sustainable returns for PNB’s portfolio, increasing Bumiputera economic wealth and participation, and utilising part of PNB’s gains for socially impactful initiatives,” it said.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also assumed the position of YPB chairman with effect from June 28, the group said.

Pursuant to the appointment, the composition of the board of trustees of YPB has been restructured to comprise Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (also appointed as the alternate chairman of YPB), Zeti and former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.

Meanwhile, 1MDB president and CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy was reportedly sacked two days ahead of the end of his garden leave on June 30 on grounds of dereliction of duties, according to a local daily.

Sources said the termination letter was hand-delivered to Arul Kanda last Thursday, June 28.

In December 2017, he was given a six-month extension with 1MDB from Jan 1 this year.

Arul Kanda declined to comment on the matter when contacted by TMR.

He first joined 1MDB in January 2015, with the job of turning around the state investment fund that was weighed down by debts of around RM42 billion at the time.

Over at Petronas, chairman Mohd Sidek Hassan was said to have completed his last day of work last Wednesday, a local news portal reported.

It said he would embark on a “business trip” from last Thursday onwards. Mohd Sidek became chairman of the national oil company on July 1, 2012. His contract was extended for three years from July 1, 2015, and ended last Saturday, July 1, 2018.

Petronas board member and chairman of Petronas’ remuneration committee Datuk Mohd Omar Mustapha also vacated his posts on June 30.