Axiata extends Jamaludin’s contract, Izzaddin is successor

The extension is meant to ease the leadership transition and help the successor to have a better understanding of Axiata’s plans

by AZREEN HANI / pic by ARIF KARTONO

AXIATA Group Bhd has extended the contract of its president and CEO Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim (picture) until the end of the year as the government-linked company (GLC) undertakes a management shakeup.

Datuk Mohd Izzaddin Idris has been appointed as the deputy group CEO and group CEO-designate effective today as Axiata seeks “to ease the leadership transition”.

Izzaddin will report to Jamaludin during the interim period and take over the positions of president and group CEO by year-end. He will also oversee the finance, strategy, marketing, corporate affairs and the increasingly critical areas of cyber security, privacy and trust, and ethics and compliance.

The former group MD and CEO of UEM Group Bhd is tasked to improve the group’s infrastructure tower business, edotco Group Sdn Bhd, and Axiata Digital Services Sdn Bhd, its digital services business. Izzaddin has also been redesignated as an ED of the telecommunication giant from an independent non-ED, which he assumed since Nov 24, 2016.

According to internal sources, Jamaludin’s contract extension is meant to ease the leadership transition and help his successor to have a better understanding on Axiata’s future plans.

“The group feels having him on board would help the next CEO to have a better understanding on Axiata’s plans as well,” the source, who requested anonymity, told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

“Appointing someone from within is much easier for us.”

It is learned that the group has also appointed four new executive VPs, including Izzaddin who will be the executive VP for corporate function, apart from deputy group CEO.

Other appointees are Thomas Hundt, who will be the executive VP for tech group in corporate centre, Dr Hans Wijayasuria for telco business, while Darke Sani remains as the executive VP for human resources.

It is believed the senior management conducted a townhall session yesterday before the announcement to Bursa Malaysia.

Axiata chairman Tan Sri Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid said the group conducted extensive search, involving top candidates of diverse backgrounds, to identify Jamaludin’s successor.

“This leadership transition is part of an institutionalised and multi-year succession process for the group CEO position where we conducted extensive search involving many top candidates of diverse backgrounds,” he said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

Jamaludin said the transition of leadership in the group is timely, especially after heading the telecommunication giant for the past 12 years.

“I feel it is timely for me to pass the mantle of leadership to a strong and dedicated professional, and at the same time, ensure a smooth and successful transition,” he said in the same statement.

Jamaludin thanked the board for their trust and support as the group executes its strategies this year.

Last November, TMR reported that three names have been considered to lead Axiata if the group decides not to extend Jamaludin’s contract, set to expire in March this year.

Axiata extended Jamaludin’s contract in March 2017. Khazanah Nasional Bhd is a major shareholder in Axiata.

Jamaludin has led Axiata since March 2008. Axiata planned a mega merger with Norway’s Telenor SA, but it fell through after four months of intense discussions. The merger would have created the largest telco in the country as Telenor owns a substantial stake in Digi.Com Bhd.