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Maybank and TMI new chiefs, dare to ignore Rumors?



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Feb 26 2008
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Rumors and speculations are part and parcel of investing life especially in the stocks markets. Sometimes rumors and speculations could be considered the crystal ball that could tell you the future, no matter how you hate it. In fact without rumors and speculations investing life could be so boring that it’s not much fun even if you made the money. Investing life is suppose to be excited and who said rumors are confined to people who like to gossips and hold no water?

There’ve been multiple times when rumors turned up to become realities. After months of speculation, today Malaysia biggest lender Malayan Banking Berhad (KLSE: MAYBANK, stock-code 1155) announced the appointment of Telekom Malaysia Berhad’s group CEO Abdul Wahid Omar as its new chief executive effective 1st July 2008. Maybank’s existing chief executive, Amirsham Aziz, 57, in a somber mood in turn announced he will retire on 30th June after serving as the CEO for 14 years. The rumors started when market talks had it that the political pressure was mounting to replace Amirsham who has been conservative in expanding the banking institution.

The jigsaw puzzles seemed to become clearer when former Maxis Communications Bhd group CEO, Datuk Jamaludin Ibrahim, announced his decision to call it a day on July 2007. People refused to believe Jamaludin retired for good considering he was just 48 years of age. The bet then was Jamaludin would most probably serve under a new and more powerful master – the government (instead of Maxis’ Ananda Krishnan). In order for Jamaludin to become the new boss of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (KLSE: TM, stock-code 4863) Abdul Wahid needs to be relocated and what better place than Maybank.
Wahid and Jamal the new chief executivesBesides confirming the rumors that Abdul Wahid is making the exit from Telekom, Jamaludin Ibrahim also has been announced as the chief executive of TM International on the same day (today). TM International was a spin off unit from Telekom’s mobile Celcom (M) Berhad that is seeking re-listing. Both Maybank and Telekom are GLC (government-linked company) and can be considered two of the most successful run organizations, never mind the monopoly status especially in Telekom’s case.

What could be the impact on Telekom and Maybank’s stocks? While it will take some time to see if Abdul Wahid could pass with flying color since he has no experience in banking business, the same cannot be say about Jamaludin. With his wide experience gained during his tenure in Maxis, Jamaludin is definitely an asset to TMI but this monster has its own challenges. Unlike Maxis, TMI is a government organization that has a huge pool of staffs enjoying their life complacently. It’s not easy to move these people the same way you direct Maxis’ staff to give their best in terms of productivity.

Don’t get me wrong as I’m not saying Telekom consists of bunches of lazy staffs, although it used to be not many moons ago. And don’t forget that within Telekom there’re basically tons of group of “teams” that have their “own territories” to take care of. To synergize all these islands of teams might take ages and could backfire if not handled with care. Therefore Jamaludin is expected to produce results set within Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s, which hold strategic 40 percent stake, scope of contract. As long as the profit can be increased annually with some expansion routes, Jamal’s mission is consider accomplished.

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