Tuesday, April 10, 2012


From the Straits Times April 8

It has been almost two years now since Hassan Marican, 60, left Petronas. His career with the country's oil giant spanned 21 years, including 15 years as its President and CEO.

His exit from Petronas Malaysia to the boards of Sembcorp Industries and Sembcorp Marine and Singapore Power is a painful reminder that the brain drain from Malaysia shows no signs of abating.

Losing someone of Hassan Marican's stature is a double blow to our country. Petronas is our best corporate success story, and with Marican at the helm, Petronas can only continue expanding and contributing to our economy.

Hassan Marican was well-known for his frugality and he applied this trait to his management of Petronas. He did not suffer government interference, especially from the PMs. The friction between PM Najib and Hassan was an open secret. It probably explained why there were no serious efforts made on the part of the government to extend Hassan's contract.

The air-conditioned KLCC-Pavilion pedestrian walkway, financed by Petronas under its CSR programme. However, the walkway caters mainly to tourists.

If Hassan were still with Petronas, one wonders whether he would have agreed to Petronas funding the air-conditioned KLCC to Pavilion walkway. It cost Petronas a cool RM100 million to finance the 562-metre long and 5-metre pedestrian walkway. That works out to RM3,307 per square foot! Think of the number of houses or schools this RM100m could have been used to build.

But I digress.

In the Straits Times article, Hassan comes across as a workaholic who has a reputation as a 'penny-pinching' chief. He is quoted as saying, "Whether it involves RM1 or RM10 or RM1 million is not relevant. The expenditure must be justifiable, relevant and beneficial.

Where would you find a corporate captain like Hassan? He belongs to a dying breed. That's why his departure from our shores to Singapore is a huge loss. This June he will have another feather to add to his star-studded resume with his appointment as Chairman of Singapore Power.

During his 15 years tenure as President and CEO, Petronas grew into a top Fortune 500 firm with assets worth more than RM400 billion.

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