Petronas sees new departures, appointments


FORMER central bank governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim and ex-Bursa Malaysia Bhd chairman Tan Sri Amirsham Abdul Aziz have stepped down as board members at Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).

Changes at the state-owned energy company saw the appointment of Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) director Ahmad Faris Rabidin, according to a source close to the matter.

A check on Petronas’ official website showed the appointment of Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh, who was made the chairman of the company’s board governance and risk committee.

Mohd Bakke was also recently appointed as chairman of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), replacing Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor who resigned after almost a year at the helm of the land development agency.

Ahmad Faris was appointed chairman of the board remuneration committee, according to the website.

Ahmad Faris, who was also part of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) investigating committee, was present at the Petronas board meeting convened on June 27, the source told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR). Both Muhammad and Amirsham were no longer listed as directors in the company.

Mohd Bakke has a wealth of experience in the corporate world and headed several government-linked companies in the past — including as Lembaga Tabung Haji CEO from 2001 to 2005 and most recently, as Sime Darby Plantation Bhd MD, before announcing his retirement (effective June 30 this year).

The 64-year old was recently named Felda chairman and is no stranger to the government body, having previously served as FGV Holdings Bhd (then Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd) president and CEO.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Faris is currently part of the debt and liability management committee which reports directly to the prime minister (PM).

He was appointed as a member of the committee in January.

Ahmad Faris was previously part of the 1MDB investigating committee and Council of Eminent Persons secretariat up to September last year.

Muhammad has been a Petronas director for over nine years since his appointment to the board on April 28, 2010, besides being a member of the board governance and risk committee. Muhammad is best known for his time as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor, a position he relinquished in June last year after controversy arose over the central bank’s RM2 billion acquisition of 55.79 acres (22.58ha) of land from the Finance Ministry.

The proceeds from the deal were reportedly used to service the debt of 1MDB, which was allegedly abused to misappropriate billions of dollars in funds.

Muhammad was appointed as BNM governor in May 2016 for an intended five-year term after Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz stepped down as governor. He was replaced by Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus and left the central bank after joining it in 1984.

On the other hand, Amirsham was appointed as Petronas director on Oct 21, 2011, and was also board governance and risk committee chairman — the role now occupied by Mohd Bakke.

The former was Bursa Malaysia chairman for four years before he was succeeded by Datuk Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiudeen on March 1 this year.

The changes at Petronas’ board have not been limited to the holding company after Adif Zulkifli was announced to be replacing his colleague Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib as Petronas Gas Bhd (PetGas) chairman.

Adif is currently executive VP and CEO for gas and new energy, while Mohd Anuar is executive VP and CEO for Petronas’ upstream business.

In a statement on Saturday, Petronas clarified that Mohd Anuar is retaining his position in Petronas and that the changes in PetGas, a listed subsidiary, are part of the company’s “internal reorganisation” approved by the board on Feb 28 this year.