|Wahid Omar To Be New Maybank CEO
Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 (Bernama) -- It's now confirmed. Telekom Malaysia’s chief executive officer Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar will be the new president and CEO of the Maybank group effective July 1, replacing Datuk Amirsham A. Aziz, who retires after 31 years with the country's biggest bank.
After months of speculation, Amirsham, 57, announced today he will retire on June 30 while Abdul Wahid will join the group on June 2 to enable a smooth transition and handing over of responsibilities.
Announcing the appointment, Maybank chairman Tan Sri Mohamed Basir Ahmad said the 44-year-old Abdul Wahid was the right candidate to take the banking group to its next level of development.
"We are fully confident that in Abdul Wahid, we have identified the right individual who has the capabilities and vision to spearhead our regional expansion plans, someone with the foresight and corporate experience," Mohamed Basir said at a press conference, also attended by Amirsham, here today.
"Maybank is in a position of strength for future growth in the region and beyond. Hopefully, we will have a bigger presence in the Middle East, and probably Pakistan, and of course Indonesia is on our screen," he said.
Mohamed Basir also played down questions that Abdul Wahid was selected by the "political masters".
"He's quite a well-known personality and we started our search for a successor a long time ago. He is a proven person," he said.
Amirsham, calm and quiet throughout Mohamed Basir's speech, was rather pensive towards the end of the speech, perhaps a realisation that he is stepping down from a prestigious job heading the country's largest banking group which would have been the envy of many both in and out of the country.
But he cheered up slightly when asked on the reason he was leaving since 57 is still considered a young age for retirement.
"Thank you very much for the compliment. When I first set in as CEO 14 years ago, I had a vision where to take Maybank. Today, the vision is realised," he said.
"I guess once you have achieved it and at the same time getting to the age where I think I should spend more time with the family, I think it is the right time for me to step back and get somebody else to take Maybank to the next level."
On Abdul Wahid's capabilities to take over his place, Amrisham said: "When I first stepped in, I was not an experienced banker. But you need good leadership qualities to harness the team in Maybank."
"We have a strong team in Maybank and the role of a CEO is to excite these people, get them motivated and to get them to move according to the plan that we set," he said.
"We look at Abdul Wahid as the person who has the ability to lead the team that we have today towards the next level of banking status."
On how he felt now that he was leaving the bank, Amirsham said: "I have put in 31 years of my life in this organisation. And I am part of those people who have brought Maybank to where it is now."
"I am sure I leave with mixed feelings, of pride because I have achieved the vision which I set out 14 years ago and of course with sadness because this has been part of my life everyday," he said.
Under his stewardship, Amirsham steered Maybank to become the country's largest financial institution and in building the franchise to become the most valuable brand valued at RM9.6 billion.
Maybank also chalked up healthy growth and record profits which increased steadily from RM1.16 billion in 1994 when he was just appointed managing director to RM4 billion in the last financial year.
The banking group has also seen its assets quadrupled to over RM264 billion with its market capitalisation growing to RM47 billion currently from only RM5.5 billion in 1994.
Amirsham's prudent management and banking experience came to the fore especially during the 1997 financial crisis when Maybank's solid fundamentals enabled the group to stand firm despite turbulent times without any need to call for additional capital from shareholders.
He also led the group through a series of mergers and acquisitions which included that of PNB Republic Bank in the Philippines in 1997 and Phileo Allied Bank and Pacific Bank in 2001.
It was also under his leadership when Maybank embarked on a business diversification strategy which was the catalyst to accelerated growth within the group and expansion into non-commercial banking businesses, mainly insurance.
As for the group's overseas footing, Amirsham led Maybank to expand from only 33 offices in 1994 to 89 offices in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, London, New York, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Brunei, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Bahrain.
A statement issued at the press conference showed that Abdul Wahid has come full circle, having started his career in the banking sector and now returning to it. He spent some 10 years in the financial industry in various capacities in groups like Amanah group before helming the UEM and Telekom Malaysia groups.
He used to serve as director of group corporate services at Amanah Capital and was also chairman of Amanah Short Deposits Bhd as well as past chairman of the Association of Discount Houses in Malaysia.
He had also served as director of Amanah Merchant Bank Bhd.
Before joining Telekom Malaysia, he was instrumental in turning around the ailing UEM-Renong group.