Changing of the guard continues at GLCs

Samsuddin is speculated to be PNB’s new chairman as Megat Najmuddin takes chairman post at Sime Darby Plantation

by AZREEN HANI/ pic credit:

MAJOR leadership changes are expected to continue at government-linked corporations (GLCs) as a slew of appointments takes effect today.

As July 1 rolls in, three corporations — Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) — will be headed by new leaders who are expected to steer them through turbulence caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and trade uncertainties.

Sources told The Malaysia Reserve that a change of roles is also expected at sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd, with deputy MD Tengku Datuk Seri Azmil Zahruddin Raja Abdul Aziz becoming the fund’s new CIO.

Tengku Azmil Zahruddin was the MD and CEO of Malaysian Airline System Bhd before joining Khazanah in 2011. He had also served at Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd and PricewaterhouseCoopers in London and Hong Kong.

The appointment, one source said, is in line with a reshuffle of roles that is taking place at Khazanah, following the departure of deputy MD Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn who moved to PNB as the new CEO effective today.

Sources said former Chief Secretary to the Government and Sime Darby Bhd acting chairman Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman is the most likely candidate to fill PNB’s chairman post as Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz’s tenure ends on July 1. It is learned that the post was initially offered to former Khazanah MD Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.

A mounting task awaits Ahmad Zulqarnain at PNB as dividends for its funds are expected to likely fall short of last year’s figures as the country’s equity market is battered due to the coronavirus.

At Petronas, new CEO Tengku Muhammad Taufik Tengku Aziz will assume his new role today as the successor of Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.

Tengku Muhammad Taufik was appointed as Petronas CFO and a member of the board of directors in October 2018. He is also a member of its Executive Leadership Team.

Apart from facing volatile global oil prices, observers are in anticipation on how the 48-year-old would resolve or reach an amicable settlement with the Sarawak state government over the issue of sales tax.

Although it was widely speculated that the struggle could finally come to an amicable end following the resignation of Wan Zulkiflee, sources said the board of Petronas is not about to throw in the towel just yet.

The state oil firm recently disputed a Reuters report regarding sales tax payment to Sarawak, describing it as speculative without any basis.

“The alleged conflict between the PM (prime minister), Petronas and its shareholder is mere speculative reporting without any basis whatsoever.”

Sources told TMR that Petronas is looking for a win-win situation for both parties. The Court of Appeal fixed Aug 8 for Petronas to review the terms of a settlement over the payment of the sales tax.

Wan Zulkiflee moves on to become chairman of MAB as his 37-year illustrious career at Petronas is said to be “valuable for the ailing national carrier”. “I believe under his (Wan Zulkiflee) leadership at MAB, the company will be able to be restructured and grow as a sustainable and resilient national airline, under good management,” PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said last month.

Muhyiddin also said some GLCs need to be strengthened to face the new global norm.

The changing of the guards at GLCs is showing little sign of slowing down, with the latest appointment of Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas (picture) as the new chairman of Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) effective today, following the resignation of Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Othman yesterday.

Megat Najmuddin, 75, currently holds chairmanship in a number of publicly listed and private companies, as well as non-governmental organisations. He is also the disciplinary board chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

“On behalf of SDP, I am delighted to welcome (him) as our chairman at a time when the company is undergoing a crucial phase of its more than 100-year history as we lay out the foundation for our next stage of growth in our quest to be the leading integrated palm oil player,” SDP group MD Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha said in a statement.

Last Sunday, Perbadanan Nasional Bhd announced the appointment of Libaran MP Datuk Zakaria Mohd Edris as its new chairman, succeeding Datuk Dzulkifli Fadzilah.