Changing of the guard at GLICs... again


Asset-rich: LTAT has proposed to privatise asset-rich Boustead Holdings, which has landbank, investment properties and hotels, among others.

More changes in the top positions of government-linked investment companies (GLICs) are expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Sources say that Retirement Inc Fund (KWAP) is expected to face a shake-up that will see the departure of chief executive officer (CEO) Syed Hamadah Othman and chief investment officer (CIO) Azmeen Adnan.

Both Syed Hamada and Azmeen would be leaving their positions following the completion of their two-year contracts, the sources say.

Both had joined KWAP in those positions just months after Pakatan Harapan won the 14th General Election in 2018.

During that period also, major changes in top management roles of other GLICs such as Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) and Khazanah Nasional Bhd, had taken place.

Syed Hamada was appointed as CEO of KWAP in November 2018 following the resignation of Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Othman, who had been with the fund since 2013.

Syed Hamada was a consultant in the area of pensions and social security for both the private and public sectors.

A source says that one candidate who has been earmarked to take over the top position in KWAP is Nik Amlizan Mohamed.

Nik Amlizan is part of the recent management changes at GLICs as only last Friday, she relinquished her position as chief executive of LTAT.

Nik Amlizan was formerly the CIO of KWAP and according to insiders, was then being groomed to be the CEO of the RM140bil pension fund.

However, she was instead sent to LTAT in 2018 to help turn around the fund and its subsidiaries.

She came into LTAT after Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin resigned on Sept 7,2018.

Lodin was chief executive of LTAT since 1982 and also Boustead Holdings Bhd’s long-standing deputy chairman and managing director, having served the group for almost 27 years.

Boustead had in June filed a suit against Lodin, its former chairman Tan Sri Mohd Ghazali Che Mat and five other directors for purported breach of fiduciary duty and is seeking jointly from them a sum of RM35.37mil.

According to a media statement from last Friday, LTAT chairman Jen (B) Tan Sri Mohd Zahidi Zainuddin says Nik Amlizan had set LTAT’s transformation journey in motion and “has built a strong foundation for LTAT based on sound organisational structures and corporate governance best practices to ensure that LTAT is on the right track of achieving its long-term aspiration of becoming a world-class pension fund for the benefit of its contributors.”

It is worth noting that LTAT has proposed to privatise asset-rich Boustead Holdings, which has landbank, investment properties and hotels, among others.

Boustead Holdings has total assets of RM16.7bil and controls four listed companies, Boustead Plantations Bhd, Affin Holdings Bhd, Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd and Pharmaniaga Bhd. It also has a host of other unlisted assets.

However, Boustead Holdings has been facing losses for years and currently suffers from a high debt strain which resulted from its past expansion exercises.

It had total borrowings of RM7.9bil against shareholders’ equity of RM3.5bil as of June 30 this year.

It remains a question if the privatisation will continue especially with the departure of Nik Amlizan.

Nik Amlizan started her stint with LTAT in October 2018.

She has over 20 years of experience in the fund management industry.

Prior to LTAT, she was the CIO of KWAP from 2014 to 2018 and has served the organisation for almost 11 years.

Prior to KWAP, she was the head of equity for RHB Asset Management Sdn Bhd.

Notably, LTAT is under the Defence Ministry, while KWAP, a fund that was set up in 2007 to take up the public servant pension liabilities, is under the Finance Ministry.

Interestingly, a source points out that Datuk Seri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly, the former CEO of Telekom Malaysia and Celcom Axiata Bhd, and Boustead Holdings’ managing director Datuk Seri Amrin Awaluddin are the shortlisted candidates to replace Nik Amlizan.

The changes in GLICs come at a time when several other government-linked companies have also seen a change in guard after Perikatan Nasional came to power in March.

In June, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), the country’s largest fund management company, saw the abrupt departure Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed as president and group chief executive.

Jalil, 40, was only at the helm of PNB for eight months and he was replaced by Ahmad Zulqarnian Onn, who was a deputy managing director at sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

A month after that, Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd (UJ) saw its first CEO Izad Sallehuddin stepping down from his position.

Izad, 39, was appointed to the post in April last year. UJ is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up by the Finance Ministry (MoF) in late 2018 to take over the non-performing assets of Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH).

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