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Axiata Chairman steps down following his resignation as MD of Khazanah Nasional

Axiata Group Berhad announced that Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar has stepped down as Chairman, Non-Independent Non-Executive Director and representative of Khazanah Nasional Berhad after ten years of service.

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Last week, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar resigned as the managing director of sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which owns a 37.3% stake in Axiata Group. The entire Khazanah Nasional board of directors have also stepped down.

Malaysia Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the resignation of Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s managing director and nine board members will enable the Government to restructure the sovereign wealth fund. The PM said the mass resignations is a move to “clear the deck to allow the Government to restructure it” in line with policies of the new administration.

Axiata has controlling stakes in market-leading mobile and fixed operators in the region including ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia and ‘Ncell’ in Nepal. The Group also holds strategic interests in ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in Singapore, edotco, Axiata Digital, Boost, , digital advertising (‘ada’), enterprise solutions/IoT (‘Xpand’) and platform services (‘APIgate’).

Full media statement from Axiata Group below.

Kuala Lumpur, 03 August 2018 – Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata or the Group) today announced that Tan Sri Datuk Wira Azman Hj. Mokhtar has stepped down as Chairman, NonIndependent Non-Executive Director and representative of Khazanah Nasional Berhad after ten years of exemplary service and being the visionary leader behind Axiata’s growth and expansion since its inception in 2008.

Under Tan Sri Azman’s stewardship, Axiata had firmly established itself as one of the largest telecommunications groups in Asia. In the ten years till end December 2017, Axiata’s customer base had increased from 40 million to close to 350 million with presence in 11 countries, making it the second largest telecommunication group within ASEAN and South Asia. Within the same period, its revenue more than doubled to reach RM24 billion. The Group’s market capitalization improved 1.8x from RM28.3 billion at its initial public offering in 2008 to RM49.6 billion at end December 2017.

Tan Sri Azman, as Chairman, had established global best practices in institutionalising the highest principles of accountability, transparency and governance. Over the years, Axiata has consistently received accolades in these areas. In the past five consecutive years, Axiata received numerous recognition for excellence in corporate governance from the Minority Shareholders Watch Group (MSWG) at its annual ASEAN Corporate Governance Recognition Awards, and in 2017, Tan Sri Azman was the recipient of the Chairman of the Year Award. Axiata was also runner up of the PwC Malaysia Building Trust Award 2017.

Commentary
Tan Sri Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid, Senior Independent Non-Executive Director of Axiata said, “Tan Sri Azman’s vision, business acumen and professionalism had led Axiata to become a regional champion and an institution with a very strong governance practice. As Chairman, he always ensured that we carried out our fiduciary duties in accordance with the highest accountability, and at the same time creating long-term value for our stakeholders.”

Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President & Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata added, “When we first started in early 2008, Tan Sri Azman gave us the mandate to make Axiata, then TM International Berhad, a Regional Champion by 2015. That evolved into a grand vision to establish Axiata as a truly ‘multinational company’, to proudly carry the Malaysian flag across the region, and to become one of the best professionally run companies to achieve exceptional performance and integrity. By the end of 2015, we successfully achieved this vision and have been recognised as such by the industry as well as investors, globally.

“One thing I will always remember is Tan Sri Azman’s consistent advice to management to focus on creating long-term value for shareholders rather than focusing purely on short-term profits, which would have been easier to achieve. Hence, business sustainability and growth is as important as short-term financial performance. He certainly doesn’t like short cuts.”

Jamaludin added, “It must be said that Axiata could not have attained its leading position within the industry without the guidance, support and encouragement from Tan Sri Azman as our Chairman. He was also instrumental in inspiring us to work on our new vision of becoming the New Generation Digital Champion within the next five years.

“On behalf of the Board, management and employees of Axiata across the region, and I personally, express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Tan Sri Datuk Wira Azman Hj. Mokhtar for his 10 years of Chairmanship and leadership of the Group.”

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy