Integrity the hallmark of good leaders

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 26 Feb 2006

KUALA LUMPUR: Integrity must exist in every good leader in the private sector, CIMB Bhd group chief executive officer Nazir Razak said. 

He said that without integrity, a corporate leader would lose the freedom of making independent judgments for the good of his organisation. 

“As we climb up higher on the corporate ladder, there will be many temptations. I personally have seen all kinds of temptations, be they in the form of slips of paper or the two-legged kind,” he said in his keynote address at the opening of the Fourth University-Industry Seminar 2006 at Universiti Malaya here yesterday. 

Nazir, 33, said the lack of integrity had brought down many corporate czars and corporations in the last Asian financial crisis. 

He attributed CIMB's success to most of his senior managers having high integrity, apart from being intelligent and hardworking. 

Energy and intelligence, he said, were important to succeed in the corporate world, but these would be more of a liability if one was dishonest. 

“You can have an Oxbridge or Harvard grad who is energetic and highly intelligent but if he is dishonest, he will be the most dangerous thing to any organisation,” he added. 

Nazir added that hard work was also necessary to succeed. When he first joined the bank, he worked 14 hours daily but had scaled it down to about 11 hours now. 

Another good virtue was humility as it enabled a good corporate leader to admit mistakes, weaknesses and failures.  

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