PETALING JAYA: The shake-up in government-linked companies continues, with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) being the latest to see changes at the helm.
Yesterday, the EPF, which is one of the oldest retirement funds in the world, announced the appointment of Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan (pic) as its new chief executive officer (CEO) effective March 1,2021 – taking over from incumbent Tunku Alizakri Alias, who has indicated his desire to retire.
The appointment of Amir Hamzah as the CEO of EPF marks the second change in less than three years at the provident fund, after outgoing CEO Tunku Alizakri (pic below) took over the position from Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan in August 2018.
Separately, in a stock exchange filing yesterday, TNB announced the appointment of Datuk Baharin Din as its president and CEO following the resignation of Amir Hamzah, with effect from Feb 28,2021.
The utility giant’s chief distribution network officer Baharin will take over from Amir Hamzah, effective March 1.
For TNB, it also marked the second change at the group in less than two years.
Given the huge public funds it manages, any leadership change at the EPF is closely watched, more so in the current volatile investing climate after the outbreak of Covid-19, which would have an impact on the dividends the fund declares.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said Amir Hamzah’s strong credentials made him the best choice to lead the EPF as its CEO.
“There was an extensive search for a new CEO given the many challenges EPF is facing.
“In appointing Amir Hamzah, we wanted a person with a strong CV and he was the best choice among the other candidates, ” Tengku Zafrul told StarBiz.Analysts said Amir Hamzah is a person who will stand up against outside pressure and do the right thing for the EPF.
Amir Hamzah has more than 25 years of corporate experience, having served in various industries like oil and gas, shipping, retail and services.
He holds a BSc in Management (majoring in Finance and Economics) from Syracuse University, New York.
The son of the late former Petronas president Tun Azizan Zainul Abidin, Amir Hamzah was called into TNB to oversee the liberalisation of the country’s power industry led by the Pakatan Harapan government then.
As for Tunku Alizakri, EPF chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said he will be continuing his contributions towards public service in a different capacity.
“It is with a heavy heart that we bid goodbye and say thank you to Tunku Alizakri for his unwavering dedication and service to the EPF spanning seven years, first as deputy CEO (strategy) and then as CEO.
“Tunku Alizakri’s vision, drive, and commitment to all EPF stakeholders, especially our members, is evident in the EPF’s ongoing drive towards digital acceleration and operational efficiency, the adoption of ESG and sustainability as key metrics, as well as powering the social protection and wellbeing agenda, ” said Ahmad Badri in a statement.
Ahmad Badri, meanwhile, welcomed and congratulated Amir Hamzah on his appointment as the new EPF CEO.
“With his broad corporate experience, we are looking forward to his dynamic and focused leadership to lead the fund through this complex and challenging period of the EPF’s history, ” he added.
Established in 1951, the EPF focuses on safeguarding member savings and delivering excellent services.
In recent years, in line with its vision of helping members achieve a better future, the fund has expanded its role to encompass the creation of a comprehensive social well-being ecosystem.
As at end 2019, the EPF had 14.58 million members, of which 7.62 million members are active contributors. A total of 522,297 employers contributed to the EPF. The annual contribution received from employees and employers as at end-2019 totalled RM75.93bil. It declared RM45.82bil in total dividend payout in 2019.
In the third quarter ended Sept 30,2020, it recorded a gross investment income of RM17.33bil amid continued volatility in the capital markets in an operating environment overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over at TNB, Baharin, 57, had built his career in the power giant over the last 36 years, having experiences ranging from engineering to managerial positions that included business development, network maintenance, network planning, construction services, metering service and engineering services.
He started his career in the country’s largest utility company in 1985 as an assistant engineer.
Prior to being appoint CEO, he was the chief distribution network officer, overseeing the largest business division at TNB.
He was vice-president (distribution) from 2012 to 2018, and before that, he was the senior general manager (customer service and metering) at the distribution division from 2011 to 2012.
He was seconded to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (KeTTHA), for two and a half years, where he served as the deputy director for the electrical inspectorate department in Sabah.
Baharin holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from Bond University, Sydney.
“We would like to congratulate Baharin on his appointment. I am confident that he will steer TNB steadily on its journey towards our strategic aspiration to be a leading provider of sustainable energy solutions in Malaysia and internationally.
“He brings with him a wealth of experience and is focused on delivering TNB’s ambitious growth agenda, ” said TNB chairman Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid in a statement.
He said TNB had delivered several key initiatives against its strategic plan over the last two years, which include concluding material transformational moves such as carving out the generation and retail business divisions into independent subsidiaries, and completing acquisitions of strategic renewable energy assets internationally.
“Despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the MCO, TNB has remained operationally stable and recorded respectable financial performances with good returns to its valued shareholders.
“The board of directors and I look forward to seeing the organisation progress on this steady track under Baharin’s leadership, ” said Mahdzir.
He said the board of directors of TNB had also extended their appreciation to Amir Hamzah for his service with TNB.
“Throughout his tenure, he has endeavoured as part of his mandate, to improve transparency and corporate governance, as well as enhance efficiencies within the organisation, ” he said.
Shares in TNB, which is controlled by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, closed five sen up to RM9.75. Its market cap stood at RM55.62bil.