Ex-MDEC Chairman, Dr Rais Hussin is appointed as MRANTI’s new CEO
By Karamjit Singh October 8, 2023
- Aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in Malaysia
- Had a stormy 2-year tenure as MDEC chairman from July 2020-2022
The Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) Board of Director (BoD) has officially announced the appointment of Dr. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff as the new CEO of MRANTI, confirming a report by news portal Utusan Malaysia last Sunday that Rais had been appointed the CEO.
Rais will take over from the current Acting CEO and Chief Commercial Officer, Khairil Anuar Sadat effective 9 Oct. According to the MRANTI Board Rais brings with him over 28 years of experience and a strong track record of leadership in various sectors.
As CEO, Rais will be responsible for driving the strategic vision of MRANTI and overseeing its day-to-day operations. He has extensive experience in the fields of telecommunications, technology and entrepreneurship.
Rais came into the public eye during a stormy two-year tenure as Chairman of Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) where in the first year he launched a Reinvent mission with four phases, designed to shape MDEC into an agency “institutionalised with the highest level of professionalism, radical transparency, integrity and performance,” he had said.
The lofty intentions caused blowback from not just long serving senior MDEC staff, some of whom left before their contracts were up while others did not have their contracts renewed, but also from entrepreneurs in the ecosystem, mainly because of the long time it took for a restructured MDEC grants program to kick off. The period to restructure the grants submission, coupled with the bottleneck of grants needing board approval caused deep dissatisfaction and anger towards Rais.
And there was the complaints that Rais overstepped his authority as non-executive chairman and was making many decisions himself, hobbling then CEO, Surina Shukri's leadership. Rais had denied this.
Against this backdrop, there has been near universal shock and disbelief in the startup ecosystem that the Ministry of Finance has seen fit to appoint Rais as the nation’s key innovation driver.
Nonetheless, Prof Dr Rofina Yasmin Othman, Chairman of MRANTI welcomed the appointment. “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Rais as the CEO. His extensive experience and deep understanding of the value of technology and innovation will be instrumental in steering MRANTI toward continued success.”
"I am honoured and excited to take on the role of CEO at MRANTI,” said Rais. “MRANTI is a nucleus agency for R&D and C&I in Malaysia that accelerates ideas to impact. I am committed to contributing significantly to the growth and success of the organisation as a technology and innovation accelerator, and strengthening the innovation ecosystem in Malaysia.”
He added “being agile, is not about mere proactive or reactive change. It is about the ‘change of change’, it is about the 'change of change in an accelerated pace'. Nothing is linear anymore.”
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