Axiata Announces Major Organisational and Top Leadership Changes Across its Group of Companies
Kuala Lumpur, 14 July 2016 - Embarking on a new transformation phase, Axiata Group Berhad (“Axiata” or “the Group”) announces today its plans to refresh and make significant structural changes across the Group, with the appointments of two Corporate EVP/Regional CEOs, three CEOs and several senior appointments.
This is in line with the Group’s strategy to refresh the management teams, execute its succession plan, strengthen the corporate headquarters to manage an entity that is more than twice its size since its formation, and accelerate the Group’s transformation into a regional digital company.
Axiata Corporate HQ
Following an earlier announcement of Dr Hans Wijayasuriya as the Regional CEO for South Asia operations, a similar unit is now being set up to oversee its Southeast Asia operations. Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, currently CEO of Celcom1, will move on to a new and larger regional role effective 1 September 2016. Shazalli has been with Celcom for the last 11 years. His current tenure, which expires by year-end, will be extended for another three years. Shazalli will now be responsible for all Southeast Asia operations and will continue to be a member of the Celcom Board. He will also be appointed to three other Boards of Axiata’s operating companies (OpCos).
As part of the Group-wide transformation, among others, Axiata will accelerate its digitisation programmes, development of innovative technologies/business models, industry consolidation and merger integration, costs restructuring as well as support OpCo turnaround programmes.
To increase the bandwidth of Axiata HQ in achieving the above, these two Regional CEOs will also assist the President and Group CEO in Group-wide responsibilities. As such, Shazalli and Hans will each carry the new title of Corporate EVP and Regional CEO.
Southeast Asia Region – Celcom Organisational Changes
Celcom will undertake a major organisational refresh with the setup of an Executive Committee (EXCO) and appointment of six new key senior positions – one from Celcom, three from the Group, one external hire and one to be announced.
To oversee the transition, a Board Executive Committee will be established. Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, who is the Chairman of Celcom and President and Group CEO of Axiata, will chair the EXCO.
Michael Kuehner, who was the CEO of Robi2 (2009 – 2013), will be appointed as the new CEO of Celcom effective 1 September 2016. Michael is a Board member of three OpCos, namely Robi, Smart3 and edotco4. He was until recently the Chairman of the edotco Executive Committee. Michael, an international telecommunications leader with more than 30 years’ experience, was with Nokia and Siemens prior to joining the Axiata in September 2009. He had key roles in multiple countries in Asia Pacific, including India, Japan and Malaysia.
At Robi, he fundamentally transformed the company, rebranded Robi from Aktel, more than doubled its revenue and quadrupled its profit after tax, and by 2012 catapulted Robi from the third to the second position in terms of revenue. Robi had also been identified as one of the top three employers of choice in Bangladesh. Michael holds a Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Economic Science from the University of Cologne, Germany.
Complementing Michael are two Deputy CEOs, Azwan Khan Osman Khan and Mohamed Adlan Ahmad Tajudin. Both of them have had significant roles in Celcom previously and have been assigned to other OpCos for the last few years.
Azwan, aged 46, currently on assignment as the COO of Dialog5 since January 2013, where he has performed outstandingly over the last three years, will assume the role of Deputy CEO, Business Operations. This unit will be responsible for sales and marketing, product development, and all of Celcom’s commercial businesses.
Azwan has over two decades of senior leadership experience. Prior to his current position, Azwan was the Group Chief Strategy Officer of Axiata and SVP, Corporate Strategy and Development of Celcom. He was credited as being part of the original team that transformed Celcom in its earlier phase. Azwan was also a key member of the Axiata team that developed the Digital Services blueprint. Prior to that, he was with Boston Consulting Group and Shell Malaysia. Azwan graduated in Engineering from Imperial College of London, UK.
Adlan, aged 46, currently on assignment as CFO of XL6 since September 2011 will assume the role of Deputy CEO, Infrastructure and Services. This unit will be responsible for all network and IT infrastructure as well as business support services.
Adlan has more than 25 years of professional experience of which 13 years were in senior management positions. He started his career at Arthur Anderson (1993 – 2002), later joined Celcom and was appointed as CFO in July 2005. He took on the role of Celcom’s Chief Corporate Officer in May 2009, which included the enterprise business unit before taking on the XL CFO role in Indonesia. Adlan graduated in Economics and Statistics from University of Exeter, UK.
Assisting the CEO and the two Deputy CEOs are three other key senior positions – Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) and Chief Transformation & Digital Officer (CTDO)
Jennifer Wong, currently Deputy CFO will be promoted to the CFO position. She will replace Chris Tiffin, who will take on a new strategic project at Celcom.Jennifer, aged 45, who has more than 20 years of experience, joined Celcom in November 2007 and has assumed positions of increasing responsibility within the company’s Finance Group prior to this appointment. Before joining Celcom, she was with PricewaterhouseCoopers in London.
Jennifer is a Chartered Accountant from Malaysia Institute of Accountants (MIA), member of Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.
Azmi Ujang, an external hire, will take on the role of CHCO. Azmi who had recently started working on Group projects in Axiata was assigned by the Group to this role. He will replace Darke M Sani who will return to his Group Chief HR position fulltime effective the same date.
Azmi, aged 56, has 24 years of experience in the industry. He was the Head of HR for Maxis for 10 years (2002 – 2012). Later, he was made the Head of Compliance, Regulatory and Government Affairs of Maxis (2012 – 2013). Prior to Maxis, he was with Standard Chartered Bank. Azmi holds a BSc degree in Finance and an MBA from Indiana State University, USA.
The sixth appointment, Chief Transformation and Digital Officer will be announced soon.
South Asia Region – New Leadership at Robi and Dialog
As announced recently, Hans will relinquish his role as Dialog CEO on 1 January 2017. He will remain as a Board member of five Axiata companies including Dialog.
Succeeding Hans will be Supun Weerasinghe, a Sri Lankan national, who will move from his assignment as CEO of Robi, to lead Dialog as CEO. Supun’s appointment as Dialog CEO will be effective 1 January 2017.
Supun, aged 40, joined Dialog in 1999 and was appointed to the position of Dialog’s COO in 2010. Supun left Sri Lanka in 2013 to take up an assignment as Chief Group Strategy Officer of the Axiata in Kuala Lumpur, as part of his accelerated leadership development journey. Subsequently in 2014, he was appointed as the CEO of Robi in Bangladesh, a position he holds to date.
Taking over from Supun as CEO of Robi is Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, effective 1 November.
Mahtab, aged 49, joined Robi in 2010 as CFO, a post he held for four years. Mahtab went on to serve as Robi’s COO since April 2014.
Prior to Robi, Mahtab worked at Unilever for 17 years and held various business and finance leadership positions at home and abroad. He graduated in Accounting from Dhaka University.
Commenting on all the key changes, JamaIudin speaking also on behalf of the Axiata Board, said, “Since Axiata’s formation back in April 2008, we have doubled the size of the Group’s revenue and market capitalization, but our past success is not necessarily the recipe for the future. We have now entered into a new growth and transformation phase, while working on short-term challenges facing some of our businesses. We certainly need to critically relook and refresh our management teams across the Group.
“Today’s announcement reflects that goal and our determination to become one of the best performing companies in the region and to build the best-in-class regional digital company. Some changes have already taken place, even before today’s appointments and we expect to make further changes over the next few years.
“Fortunately, we have a strong reservoir of great talent nurtured over the years. As evidenced in today’s announcement, we are proud to bring back many outstanding local talents, with a refreshed mind-set, to lead their respective national companies. We also plan to inject world-class external talents to further energize and continue to enhance diversity within the Group”.
- 1 Celcom Axiata Berhad
- 2 Robi Axiata Limited
- 3 Smart Axiata Co., Ltd
- 4 edotco Group
- 5 Dialog Axiata PLC
- 6 PT XL Axiata Tbk
As one of the largest Asian telecommunication companies, Axiata today operates in ten countries, servicing approximately 290 million subscribers. With a diverse portfolio in mobile network operations, communications infrastructure services and digital services, the Group pieces together the best in connectivity, technology and people in its vision of Advancing Asia.
Axiata has controlling stakes in market leading mobile operators in South East Asia and South Asia. Axiata Group of companies operate under the brand name of ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia and 'Ncell' in Nepal. Further to this, the Group also holds strategic interests in ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in Singapore.
‘edotco’, the Group’s infrastructure company, operates in six countries to deliver telecommunications infrastructure services, amassing a portfolio of over 16,000 towers and 12,000 km of fibre. It aims to be one of the top regional tower companies and is committed to responsible and sustainable business operations.Axiata Digital (AD), its digital services arm, captures the rapid growth in internet-based businesses through its portfolio of 24 digital brands, servicing growing demands in mobile money, mobile adverting, e-commerce, entertainment and education.
As a committed and long-term investor, Axiata provides employment to 25,000 people within its operations. In line with its sustainability goals, the Group actively supports and drives young talent development; disaster response and recovery; as well as green initiatives.