FGV names CFO, another former Sime Darby staff

Mohd Hairul is the latest ex-Sime Darby staff to be recruited into the troubled firm


FGV Holdings Bhd yesterday announced the appointment of Datuk Mohd Hairul Abdul Hamid as its new CFO, making him the latest former Sime Darby Bhd staff to be recruited into the troubled state-owned plantation company.

Mohd Hairul was the former CFO of Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp), a post he held in the last five years, according to FGV’s Bursa Malaysia announcement. He is replacing Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha who resigned on Oct 12 last year.

Prior to his role at the stateowned transportation company, the 48-year-old Mohd Hairul spent nearly two decades at Sime Darby, the plantation company which was considered the jewel of Malaysia’s plantation industry.

He started his career as a Sime Darby management trainee in 1994 before climbing his way up to become CFO of the plantations division from June 2008 to June 2011.

He was later appointed as CFO of Sime Darby’s energy and utilities division from February 2011 to February 2012, before he moved to MRT Corp.

Mohd Hairul’s entry into FGV follows a string of other former Sime Darby staff who had been roped in to repair the damaged plantation giant.

Among the other former Sime Darby top personnel who had joined FGV are Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid, who is currently FGV’s interim CEO, Syed Mahdhar Syed Hussain (FGV group transformation officer) and Dr Mohamed Nazeeb P Alithambi (FGV board member).

Azhar, who joined FGV in September 2017, is believed to be instrumental in recruiting the former Sime Darby staff. Azhar was the former CEO of MRT Corp.

The company also moved its corporate office from Menara Felda near Kuala Lumpur City Centre to the old Sime Darby corporate office on Jalan Raja Laut. The building had been renamed Wisma FGV. It was formerly Wisma Sime Darby.

In September last year, Azhar announced a turnaround plan aimed at restoring operational integrity and improving its finances.

The plan included the formation of a three-member special board committee comprising Azhar, Mohamed Nazeeb and Datuk Dr Salmiah Ahmad to closely monitor the performance of FGV’s core business — as well as the establishment of a transformation office, headed by Syed Mahdhar.

To date, the turnaround plan has included management changes, investigations into the company’s past transactions and impairment for its acquisition of the London-listed Asian Plantations Ltd. The plan will also see FGV replanting 15,000ha of its estates.

While transformation efforts continue to be carried out, the special board committee was disbanded after Azhar was made interim CEO in October 2018. This follows the resignation of Datuk Zakaria Arshad from the post a month earlier.

Neither the company, nor Zakaria provided any reason for the departure.

FGV is expected to finalise its top management structure soon with a new CEO likely to be appointed in February. Azhar has so far denied to name the contenders for the role, but has hinted that it will be an “external” candidate.