Shazalli steps down as Celcom CEO to take on bigger role in Axiata


  • Has helped steer Celcom to 30+ consecutive quarters of growth
  • Major senior management reshuffle at company
Shazalli steps down as Celcom CEO to take on bigger role in Axiata

CELCOM Axiata Bhd, one of Malaysia’s ‘Big Three’ mobile operators, has announced that Shazalli Ramly (pic above) will step down as its chief executive officer (CEO) to take on a bigger role within the Axiata Group, effective Sept 1, as part of a major senior management reshuffle.
In his new role as Axiata Group corporate executive vice president and regional CEO, Shazalli will be responsible for all South-East Asian operations.
He will continue to be a member of the Celcom board of directors, and will also be on the board of three other Axiata operating companies.
Shazalli will be replaced by Michael Kuehner, who was the CEO of Axiata’s Bangladesh operating company Robi from 2009 and 2013, during which time he helped it become the second largest player in the country, up from its previous third spot.
According to Axiata Group, Kuehner rebranded Robi from Aktel, more than doubled its revenue, and quadrupled its profit after tax.
Meanwhile, with the appointment, Shazalli’s tenure with the organisation, which would have expired by the end of this year, will be extended for another three years.
His appointment also means that Axiata will now have two regional CEOs and corporate executive vice presidents.
Earlier this year, Dr Hans Wijayasuriya – the outgoing CEO of Axiata’s Sri Lanka operating company Dialog – was appointed the regional CEO for South Asia operations. He vacates his Dialog CEO role effective Jan 1 next year.
Axiata Group said Shazalli’s appointment was part of its effort to refresh its management team, execute a succession plan, and to accelerate its transformation into a regional digital services company.
“As part of the group-wide transformation, among others, Axiata will accelerate its digitalisation programmes, development of innovative technologies and business models, industry consolidation and merger integration, costs restructuring as well as support operating companies’ turnaround programmes,” it said in an official statement.
During Shazalli’s 11 years at Celcom, the company has grown from strength to strength. At one point, it was the smallest player in the market with about a 25% market share, but he managed to turn it around and steer it to 30 consecutive quarters of growth in both its top- and bottom-line.
It is now the No 1 mobile operator in terms of total subscriber base.
Major management revamp … again
Shazalli steps down as Celcom CEO to take on bigger role in AxiataCelcom will also be undertaking what it said would be a “major organisational refresh” with the establishment of an executive committee (exco) and the appointment of six new key senior positions, which includes Kuehner’s appointment as CEO.
The company had undergone a similar senior management revamp only two years ago.
To oversee the transition, a board executive committee will be set up with Axiata Group president and CEO Jamaludin Ibrahim (pic) as chairman.
Celcom also announced that Azwan Khan Osman Khan and Mohamed Adlan Ahmad Tajudin will be appointed deputy CEOs.
Azwan, currently the chief operating officer of Dialog, was previously Axiata Group chief strategy officer and Celcom senior vice president of corporate strategy and development.
Adlan, who is currently the chief financial officer (CFO) of Indonesia’s XL Axiata, was appointed Celcom CFO in 2005 and chief corporate officer in 2009.
To assist Kuehner, Azwan and Adlan, Celcom has appointed Jennifer Wong – currently its deputy CFO – as its new CFO, replacing Chris Tiffin who will be taking on a new strategic project at Celcom, Axiata said.
Azmi Ujang, former head of human resources (HR) at rival Maxis Bhd, has been appointed chief human capital officer, replacing Darke M. Sani who will return to his group chief HR position full time.
Axiata added that it will be announcing Celcom’s chief transformation and digital officer soon.
Changes in South Asia
Axiata also announced that Supun Weerasinghe, currently the CEO of Robi, will be appointed Dialog CEO effective Jan 1 next year.
Replacing Supun at Robi will be Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, who is currently Robi chief operating officer.
Related Stories:
Celcom CEO: The Blue is back!
Celcom revamps management lineup
Slugfest: How Malaysia's Big 3 performed in 2015
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