Week in Review: MaGIC loses its CEO, MyTV loses the plot

  • Ashran Ghazi to leave in December, leaves agency safe under Entrepreneurship Ministry
  • Digital terrestrial television provider, MyTV struggles to meet its promise to government

THE week of Nov 19 to Nov 23 was interesting for DNA with news of Singapore based cryptocurrency platform, KuCoin, raising a cool US$20 million in its Series A round. In Malaysia, the startup scene was reacting to the news that Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) CEO, Ashran Ghazi was leaving MaGIC in early December.

Ashran has framed his departure as being on his own terms and because of opportunities available to him to join a promising market research company. Still there will be some who wonder about the real reason for his departure in leaving a globally known startup agency for a little known company.

For MaGIC, although Ashran will prove hard to replace as he did do a really good job when he came in to replace MaGIC’s founding CEO, Cheryl Yeoh, at least the agency now has a new home under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development. It used to be under the Ministry of Finance.

Commenting on his impending departure, Renuka Sena, CEO of Proficeo Sdn Bhd shared that Ashran’s background as an entrepreneur was a boon to the ecosystem as it meant an agency CEO understood their needs. “However understanding what is needed to be done and actually getting things done is what separates a good CEO from a great CEO. I still remember Ashran's first few months as CEO - he spent a lot of time meeting as many of us as he could to get an on ground feel of what had worked and what didn't in order to chart MaGIC's new path under his leadership. He also pitched ideas constantly in order to solicit constructive criticism and ideas to improve his potential plans.”

And once he was set to implement those ideas, “there was no stopping him,” she says.

So clearly the entrepreneurship minister has a huge challenge to find the right leader who can take MaGIC higher and maintain its reputation as an agency that can deliver.

Moving on to the corporate world, we have a story of a corporate that has not been able to deliver yet on an important task entrusted to them. MyTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd is having trouble, financially, owing Telekom Malaysia Bhd a reported US$15.7 million (RM66 million), and from a business model and market competition point, to deliver the analogue switch-over (ASO) in Malaysia.

Malaysia was supposed to switch off its analogue TV service in July 2018 but MyTV has not been able to deliver digital terrestrial television (DTT) to the entire country yet. That July deadline has now been moved to 1Q19 but that is a mere five months away. Can MyTV do in five months what it could not do in four years? I have my doubts.

And finally, I have no doubt that Malaysian oil giant, Petronas is on its way to adapting to the reality of a digital world. Its technology arm, Petronas ICT, CEO, Redza Goh, spoke exclusively to DNA recently and shared how it was open to making investments in startups to help accelerate its innovation journey.

But more than that, Redza also spoke about how Petronas ICT and Petronas realise that they have to get their people to have a more digital mindset because mere digital rhetoric will do nothing for any company that wants to adapt and take advantage of the disruption and opportunities that digital is bringing.

With that, I wish you a productive week ahead and apologise for this later than usual column!


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