Axiata Group Bhd
By DATUK SERI JAMALUDIN IBRAHIM
Axiata is one of the largest Asian telecommunications companies, with 23,000 employees from over 50 nationalities working across its footprint of nine countries in Asia today.
To be a “regional champion” by being a highly successful home-grown multinational company (MNC), Axiata must continuously raise the bar. The telco business in itself is complex and fast-paced.
Our talent management strategy therefore is an integral part of our vision; a focus on developing local talent pools in all our markets complemented by top quality global talent to provide the very important external perspective and specific expertise that we may lack in our country.
Our aim is to develop a regional talent pool that is world-class: highly agile, capable and committed to transforming Axiata.
In our talent strategy, Axiata targets a leadership mix of local talent, talent from within our footprint countries, and global talent at a ratio of 7:2:1 respectively.
This provides a strong base of local talent for each operating company (OpCo), a development platform by way of talent rotating between different markets and businesses, and talent who can bring in expertise, from countries beyond Axiata’s footprint. In this way, Axiata can ensure a diverse leadership team poised to constantly raise standards.
As such, we practise talent mobility across markets. Just as we send our Malaysian talent across our OpCos, we also rotate other nationalities across our footprint.
These placements provide an ideal training ground for future leadership roles across the group. A specific placement for our top talent from the various OpCos is for them to also have a stint in our Axiata headquarters in Kuala Lumpur as they aspire to lead in their own markets.
Furthermore, the overall talent pool to lead telcos is relatively small. Hence, we often need to bring in foreign talent into the group for the innovations developed in their home countries. A couple who have been rotated within the group are Supun Weerasinghe and Mohamed Adlan Tajudin.
Instrumental talent stories
In 2003, Adlan began his career with the group at Celcom Axiata in finance where he was instrumental in implementing the Performance Improvement Programme that led to Celcom’s turnaround. After rising to the position of CFO, Adlan took an appointment as CFO of XL Axiata Indonesia in 2011.
Similarly, Weerasinghe, who hails from Sri Lanka took his career to the level of group COO of Dialog Axiata Plc, Sri Lanka where he was instrumental in making Dialog the leading quad play telco.
In 2013, he took an appointment as group chief strategy officer in Axiata headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Early 2014, he moved to Bangladesh as managing director and CEO of Robi Axiata.
Group chief technology officer Amandeep Singh joined Axiata with over 21 years’ experience in the telecommunication network business in India and Africa.
Amandeep brings with him significant experience in rapid network roll-out and implementing low cost business models which are relevant to Axiata’s footprint.
Given that the group spends about RM4bil in network capex and more than RM1.5bil in network opex yearly, ensuring an effective and low-cost implementation is absolutely critical. Amandeep is currently driving the group’s Least Cost Network project.
We greatly appreciate efforts by the Government to ease expatriate facilitation in Malaysia. Initiatives like the Expatriate Services Division, the liberalisation of the Employment Pass and Residence Pass–Talent send a positive signal to industry. These will go a long way in helping companies like Axiata, a homegrown MNC, succeed in the fast-paced telco industry.