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Former MAS CEO Idris Jala joins Heineken in chairman role

Heineken Malaysia has named Dato’ Sri Idris Jala its new chairman, effective from 1 January 2017.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia on 1 December, the brewer said Jala will be succeeding Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon who has decided to retire as chairman of the board of Heineken Malaysia on 31 December 2016. However, he will continue to support the group as advisor of Heineken Malaysia starting 1 January next year.

Jala is the managing director of Big Fast Results Institute and has served as minister in the Prime Minister’s department in Malaysia for six years.

Additionally, he is also the CEO of the performance management and delivery unit (PEMANDU) in the Prime Minister’s department – the organisation tasked with spearheading Malaysia’s transition towards high income status by 2020.

“Idris Jala is a renowned transformation guru in turning around companies’ performance through his big fast results methodology and transformational strategies that are innovative, rigorous and relevant to today’s demands. He has continuously delivered sustainable socio economic reforms which, in 2014, saw Bloomberg place him among the top 10 most influential policy makers in the world,” said Heineken in a statement.

Prior to his government stint, Jala was CEO at Malaysia Airlines (MAS) from December 2005 to August 2009. He was brought on board to turn around the airline which was in crisis brought about by a prolonged bout of losses from operational inefficiencies.

During his tenure, the airline went from a loss of RM1.3 billion in the year he joined to booking a profit of RM850 million two years later, according to Malay Mail.

Before MAS, he spent 23 years at Shell, rising up the ranks to hold senior positions including vice president of Shell Retail International and vice president of business development consultancy, based in UK. This included successful business turnarounds in Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

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