Khazanah has no plans for deputy MD post

Sovereign wealth fund has 17 personnel under its senior management team, compared to 20 previously including the 2 deputy MD posts


KHAZANAH Nasional Bhd has no plans to retain the deputy MD post following the recent reshuffle of management at the sovereign wealth fund.

The fund’s 2019 Khazanah Annual Report showed that the post of deputy MD is no longer in the offing. This comes after the departure of former deputy MD Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn, who moved to Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) as its new CEO, while another former deputy MD Tengku Datuk Seri Azmil Zahruddin Raja Abdul Aziz was made Khazanah’s CIO.

“There are no plans to have a deputy MD, with Tengku Azmil Zahruddin having now assumed the role of CIO and Ahmad Zulqarnain departing to take up the post of PNB’s CEO,” a Khazanah spokesperson told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) yesterday.

Last week, TMR reported that Tengku Azmil Zahruddin will be appointed CIO following Ahmad Zulqarnain’s exit.

The two deputy MD posts were first announced in December 2017, with effect from Jan 1, 2018. Khazanah currently has 17 personnel under its senior management team, compared to 20 previously including the two deputy MD posts as listed in The Khazanah Report 2018.

Khazanah’s 2019 report stated this was the firm’s first full year of operations under the refreshed mandate and strategic priorities that were put in place at the end of 2018.

The fund is tasked with growing the nation’s long-term wealth by pursuing distinct commercial and strategic objectives. Its ultimate goal is to sustainably increase the value of its financial assets and enhance economic outcomes to meet the nation’s needs over the generations to come.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who became Khazanah’s chairman since April, said the fund remains resilient while continuing to uphold good governance and strong risk management to deliver long-term sustainable returns for the country.

“On its part, the government will continue to lead responsibly in implementing the necessary measures to not only address the immediate challenges, but to also ensure the fundamentals of our economy remain in good stead for continued growth.

“We are confident we are doing what is right for the nation’s sustained progress,” he said in the report.

In the same report, Khazanah MD Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said the past year certainly had its challenges with uncertainties in the global geopolitical and economic landscape.

“Despite this backdrop, Khazanah recorded significant progress on multiple fronts.

“We achieved an excellent turnaround in overall performance for 2019 with record profits from operations, contributed by higher divestment gains and lower impairments, and robust portfolio returns,” he said in the report.

For 2019, Khazanah achieved a profit from operations of RM7.36 billion, compared to a loss from operations of RM6.27 billion in 2018.

Profitability was boosted by robust divestment gains, which increased to RM9.9 billion compared to RM1.4 billion, and lower impairments at RM4.9 billion compared to RM7.3 billion in the previous year. Khazanah declared a dividend of RM1 billion for 2019.

The costs of running Khazanah declined 28.2% to RM484 million, gross debt was reduced by 17% to RM45.8 billion and realisable asset value cover improved to three times from 2.4.

The sovereign wealth fund has disposed of at least seven overseas investments since May 2018, including its shareholding in IHH Healthcare Bhd and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd worth RM2.2 billion, the Parliament was told in November last year.

Others included entire stake sales in BDO Unibank Inc worth RM1.56 billion, Ltd (RM771 million), SEA Ltd (RM612 million), Infosys Ltd (RM201 million) and PT Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk (RM196 million), as well as a partial stake sale in Titan Industries Ltd (RM89 million).