Shamsul to continue to helm Petronas

Sources say the decision to extend chief executive officer Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas’ contract reflects the need to maintain continuity.

Shamsul Azhar

(The Business Times) – Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) president and chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas’ contract will be extended for two years once it expires in February 2013.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced the extension at a townhall meeting with Petronas senior management

Meanwhile, sources said the decision to extend Shamsul’s contract reflected the need to maintain continuity.

The one-year advanced notice – unprecedented for the government – also indicates confidence in the leadership team of Petronas under Shamsul.

Najib also welcomed Petronas board’s recommendation to create the post of chief operating officer (COO) and for Datuk Wan Zulkifli Wan Ariffin to take on that role.

Wan Zulkifli, the former managing director and CEO of Petronas Gas Bhd, is currently Petronas’ executive vice-president for the
downstream business.

According to the sources, Najib made it clear that Wan Zulkifli should not be regarded as the “crown prince”, stating that when the time comes, he would choose the best man to take on the top job.

“Najib reserves the right to appoint the best man for the job,” one of the sources said. Shamsul, 59, who is also Petronas’ acting chairman, was given a three-year contract when he took the helm of the company in February 10 2010.

He replaced Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican, who retired after 15 years of service. The PMO statement, which was released
through Bernama, said in light of both the contract extension and the appointment of the COO, the Prime Minister had expressed confidence that Petronas will continue to achieve even greater success.