Petronas picks new board member, changes committee heads


  • Business
  • Thursday, 24 Sep 2015

Major role: It is understood that Zarinah

PETALING JAYA: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has made some changes to its board, bringing in the former head of the Securities Commission (SC), Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, and shuffling the heads of some of its board committees.

It is speculated that more board changes are in the offing for the national oil company, with a few new ones to come in while some existing board members may leave when their terms end.

Petronas recently saw a change of guard in the form of the departure of Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas at its helm, with the reins being handed over to new CEO Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin. StarBiz had speculated that some board changes would be in the offing following this.

The new changes are reflected in Petronas’ website today.

Datuk Mohd Omar Mustapha has replaced Datin Yap Siew Bee as chairman of Petronas’ remuneration committee, while Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim was made chairman of the audit committee replacing Krishnan Menon.

The 64-year-old Zarinah is most known for her six years as chairman of the SC, a position she held until her retirement in March 2012. She was appointed as chairman to the board of Malaysia Debt Ventures Bhd in July 2013 and is currently a visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic studies in the United Kingdom.

Prior to joining the SC, she had spent 22 years with the Shell Group, serving in various capacities across Shell’s diverse business interests in Malaysia. She was the deputy chairman of Shell Malaysia before leaving to join the SC.

It is understood that Zarinah’s appointment to Petronas’ board is part of the Government’s commitment to have a higher representation of female leadership in the Malaysian workforce. Sources said another female appointment to Petronas’ board is in the works.

Meanwhile, 44-year-old Omar had joined Petronas’ board in September 2009. He is the founder and chairman of Ethos & Co, a Malaysian-based management consulting firm. His other stints include as senior associate with McKinsey & Co and part of the pioneer management team at the Multimedia Development Corp or MDec.

In 2004, Omar took a sabbatical from Ethos to serve as special assistant to the-then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for the economic, corporate sector and foreign policy issues.

Meanwhile, Yap, who has been a Petronas director since April 2010, has advised as legal counsel on significant oil and petrochemical projects in Malaysia and has extensive oil and gas (O&G) advisory experience, including negotiations of international O&G ventures on behalf of Petronas.

Ibrahim was appointed to Petronas’ board in April 2010 and is deputy governor of Bank Negara and also sits on its monetary policy and financial stability committees.

Menon is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants and the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is currently chairman of Scicom (MSC) Bhd, KLCC Property Holdings Bhd, KLCC (Holdings) Sdn Bhd and Econpile Holdings Bhd. He is a director of MISC BHD and is also the chairman of the MISC board audit committee.

Commentators have recently raised the issue of the importance of Petronas maintaining a strong board. This is considering that Petronas is the country’s richest company, and whose role, as dictated by the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) of 1974, is to ensure the country and its people get the best out of all the O&G resources that have been vested into Petronas.

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