This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on May 31, 2019
*This article has been updated to correct the name of TM's chief digital officer
KUALA LUMPUR: The chairman of Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) Rosli Man has refused to proceed with the appointment of acting chief executive officer Imri Mokhtar as its CEO, despite the decision of its special shareholder, The Ministry of Finance Inc (MoF Inc), sources say.
Sources told The Edge Financial Daily that TM’s statement on Wednesday, when it said that the appointment of its CEO has to go through due process with MoF and its board of directors, was not accurate.
They said that a decision was made in February by MoF to appoint Imri as CEO, but it has been three months and the chairman has refused to act on it.
Telekom has had no CEO for a year since the resignation of Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly — who was also a media adviser to then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak — a month after last May’s elections.
Datuk Bazlan Osman was appointed acting CEO but resigned suddenly on Nov 16 and Imri was made acting CEO. On Nov 30, then chairman Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob also resigned, and Rosli was appointed to replace him on Dec 3.
Rosli was previously CEO of Celcom (M) Bhd when it was owned by Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli in the 1990s.
Sources say the Telekom board under Sulaiman had recommended that Imri be made CEO and this was agreed by MoF, which subsequently obtained clearance from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to proceed.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng then informed Rosli, Imri and TM’s company secretary Hamizah Abidin of the decision via a letter in February, but Rosli did not do anything.
At TM’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, some shareholders had asked about the delay in appointing a CEO and were told by the chairman that no decision has been made by the controlling shareholders.
Rosli did not want to meet the media after the AGM, but in response to questions posed by The Edge Financial Daily, the company issued a statement to say the appointment of a new CEO had to go through due process with its controlling shareholders and the board.
TM is a GLC in which Khazanah Nasional Bhd has a 26% stake. MoF has a special share which gives it power to make certain decisions.
It is not clear why Rosli is blocking Imri’s appointment, but sources say it is likely he wants his own appointee.
In March, TM also saw the departure of its chief technology and innovation officer Datuk Mohd Rais Azhar and chief digital officer Ahmad Azhar Yahya.