Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) announced that its President and Group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin will be retiring effective June 30, 2020. Wan Zulkiflee will leave after 37 years with the organization and he will be assuming the position of chairman of Malaysia’s debt-stricken national carrier, Malaysia Airlines Berhad, effective July 1, 2020.
Succeeding him as president and Group CEO, effective July 1, 2020, is Tengku Muhammad Taufik Tengku Aziz, currently executive vice president and group chief financial officer of Petronas. Taufik has accumulated 20 years’ worth of experience in financial reporting, feasibility reviews, project analysis, capital projects restructuring and risk management with primary focus on the oil and gas industry. Taufik also had significant exposure to strategic planning and investments valuations exercises. Throughout his time in the industry he has successfully developed entry strategies for businesses and worked closely with senior management on investment plans and structuring funding requirements.
Having also been a former CFO in two listed entities, he has a wealth of experience and his responsibilities included financial and management reporting, M&A activities, as well as developing key stakeholder engagement strategies with shareholders, bondholders, lenders and financial institutions.
The management reshuffle comes as Malaysia’s two state-owned enterprises struggle with oil demand destruction and a plunge in air travel due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“In a challenging economic environment, there are some state-owned companies that need to be strengthened to meet the world’s new normal,” Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said. “The government will continue to re-look at the leadership in state-owned companies to ensure they are achieving the country’s socio-economic objectives.”
Wan Zulkiflee was appointed as president and Group CEO of Petronas in April 2015, following a severe downturn in the oil and gas industry caused by the collapse in crude oil prices. Wan Zulkiflee’s contract was renewed for three years in April 2018.
Under his leadership, Wan Zulkiflee instituted successful measures to achieve better cost efficiency in a harsh operating landscape. His transformation efforts in the areas of operational efficiency, commercial excellence, portfolio optimization, digital transformation efforts and organizational culture led to Petronas’ robust performance and strong fundamentals. His focused execution on these initiatives including the company’s three-pronged growth strategy have resulted with Petronas becoming more resilient in facing industry cycles. He has also transformed Petronas into a more sustainable organisation that can better adapt to the energy transition.
Wan Zulkiflee, who started his career in Petronas in 1983, has held various senior management positions in the company, including managing director and CEO of Petronas Gas Berhad, vice president of Gas Business, executive vice president and CEO, Downstream Business, as well as chairman of Petronas Gas Berhad, Petronas Chemical Group and Petronas Dagangan Berhad. He also assumed the additional role of chief operating officer (COO) of Petronas in 2012.
Wan Zulkiflee attended the Malay College Kuala Kangsar and graduated in 1977. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, and attended the six-week Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School in 2004.