Plantations based conglomerate Sime Darby Group Chairman Tun Musa Hitam is expected to call for a media conference this evening, to announce the new Group CEO since the untimely but premature ‘ departure’ of Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zubir Mursyid just exactly a month ago in a huge controversy and probably scandal for the largest palm oil planter in the world.
Unconfirmed reports state that Felda Holdings Group CEO Dato’ Mohd. Bakke Salleh is being given the honour.
Presently, since the premature ejection of Zubir, Group Plantations Managing Director Dato’ Azhar Abdul Hamid has been appointed as the acting Group CEO. Not much could be said about Bakke taking over a conglomerate which in a very short time would be land owners and developers of 1 million hectares of palm oil (400, 000 hectares of ‘brownfield’ and 600,000 hectares of ‘greenfield’), being the largest producer of palm oil crude in the world. However, Azhar has plans for the Group. A master of producing palm oil in market conditions without having the luxury of direct Government subsidy, Azhar’s plantations division contributes 70% of the Group turnover and income. His mid term plan is to drive the whole Group to deliver 100% growth within five years.
“In many businesses, ideas and innovation fail to grow and because lack of capital and resources. Here (in Sime Darby), we have it all”, in his idea of promoting intrapreneurism amongst the executives as a drive for better results. Obviously, he intended to harness everyone’s competencies and creativity.
Former accountant turned Islamic banker Bakke was previously in Tabung Haji, another large palm oil plantation group after Sime Darby and Felda. It was said that Tabung Haji’s cost of operations are not desirable against market forces and both Felda and Tabung Haji have the luxury being GLCs, unlike Sime Darby which is totally market driven corporation. Bakke would probably take a whole year just to learn names and their competencies in a conglomerate that employs 100,000 people and in tough times like this, probably its not the best opportunity to ‘Change horse mid-stream’.
What is worrying is that Bakke is one of those executives hand picked and nurtured by Minister-in-charge of EPU and former Second Finance Minister (at the times of PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s counter productive growth of socio, economics and politics bleak interregnum period) Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop. It doubt that Sime Darby as a Group is able to afford further scandals and ventures that would bring temporary glitch to the Malay controlled corporate scene, such as Khazanah Holdings. This is over 8 million Malay and Bumiputera unit trust holders depend on Sime Darby’s profitability and most of all, ability to fork out cash and pay out dividends.
It is thought that Chairman Tun Musa Hitam ‘pushed’ for the appointment of Bakke, even though the BOD gave the interim confidence to Azhar and less than two weeks later, agreed to accept the ‘Troika’ management representation and chain of information to the BOD. For someone who reiterated his position of being a ‘Non Executive’ many times over, this appointment demonstrate otherwise. He should consider using his ‘Executive Decision’ clout to uplift the moral within Sime Darby Group, especially allowing the new ‘Troika’ form of reporting prove itself first and most of all, some members of the BODs who are veterans of the Bakun dam, Qatar Project and Maersk Oil Qatar projects to go first.
Tun Musa made the announcement this evening at Sime Darby Convention Centre:
Jun 14, 2010
Sime Darby names new CEO
KUALA LUMPUR – MALAYSIAN state-controlled conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad on Monday named Mohamad Bakke Salleh, a top official at plantation giant Felda Group, as its new president and chief executive.
The appointment comes after Sime Darby in May posted its first quarterly loss due to massive losses from its energy division.
The conglomerate recorded a loss of 308.6 million ringgit (S$131.74 million) in the three months to March 31 compared with a net profit of 150.6 million ringgit in the same period last year.
Yeh Kim Leng, chief economist with RAM Holdings, told AFP the number one task for the new chief was ‘to extricate the company from the current mess’.
‘Mohamad Bakke has to pull the company out of the mess and refocus on its core strength which is in the palm oil plantations and its downstream processing business.’ The 56-year-old Mohamad Bakke is currently group president and chief executive of Felda Global Ventures Holdings, the commercial arm of Felda Group.
The conglomerate last month had asked group CEO Ahmad Zubir Murshid to take a leave of absence before his contract expires in November after an internal investigation uncovered cost overruns in the energy and utilities division. Anti-corruption authorities had said they would investigate possible graft at the firm, Malaysia’s number two company by market value. — AFP
Sime Darby gets new president
KUALA LUMPUR, Monday 14 June 2010 (Bernama) — Datuk Mohd Bakke Salleh has been appointed as the new President & Group Chief Executive (PGCE) of Sime Darby.
The appointment is to take effect as soon as practicable, Sime Darby said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia today.
Sime Darby said Mohd Bakke, 56, was chosen in view of his expertise and experience.
Mohd Bakke, who is the Group President/Chief Executive Officer of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd (Felda Global), has a proven track record in managing large corporations, corporate restructuring exercises and management expertise in the plantation and property industries, it said.
He is also highly regarded in the corporate sector.
Prior to his appointment at Felda Global, Mohd Bakke served in various capacities within Government Linked Companies and Government Linked Investment Companies.
He has served as the Group Managing Director of Felda Holdings Bhd, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive of Lembaga Tabung Haji and also as the Director of the Property Division of Pengurusan Danaharta Bhd.
Sime Darby said it will make the necessary announcement when the appointment of Mohd Bakke is effected.
More analysis and commentaries to Bakke’s irregular ‘announcement to the Group CEO’s post but without specifics’. 24 hours from this original posting.
*Updated Tuesday 15 June 1300hrs