Celcom Axiata Berhad Announces Top Leadership Change
Mohamad Idham Nawawi appointed as Celcom CEO to replace Michael Kuehner
Kuala Lumpur, 24 August 2018 – Celcom Axiata Berhad (Celcom) today announces the appointment of Mohamad Idham Nawawi as the new Chief Executive Officer effective 1 September 2018, taking over from Michael Kuehner whose tenure as CEO ends on 31 August 2018. This succession is part of the original plan two years ago to appoint an internal talent for the next phase of transformation.
Michael has made enormous contributions through his vision and relentless drive to transform Celcom into a modern, agile and digital organization. His core strategy to provide the best customer experience in the industry saw Celcom achieve significant improvements in many areas in products and services, network quality and coverage especially in the deployment of 4G, sales and distribution as well as digitisation.
Following a well-structured Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata) and Celcom succession planning and a thorough selection process, the Celcom Board had concluded that Idham is best positioned to take over from Michael. As an internal talent with excellent management and operational experience within the Group, as well as a member of the Celcom Board, Idham is already well versed in Celcom’s strategic directions, operations and challenges. The Board is confident Idham will be able to move quickly and efficiently to execute on the next phase of transformation.
Idham is an established telecommunications professional with over 25 years of business and operations experience within the telecoms industry in Malaysia and within the region. He has held various senior management and directorship positions with several international and local organizations, including multiple startups.
With the Group since 2012, Idham currently holds the position of Group Chief Corporate Officer (“GCCO”), responsible for Regulatory Management, Corporate Communications & Sustainability, Corporate Affairs and Government Relations for the Group, as well as managing the Group CEO’s Office and the Axiata Program & Governance Office.
Idham also led the Transformation Program Office for Axiata 2.0 from 2012 to 2015, which was the impetus of Axiata’s expansion beyond its core mobile business into new digital services and tower business. As interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Axiata Digital Services during its start-up phase in 2014, he was also instrumental in establishing the RM100 million Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (“ADIF”) targeting at developing Malaysian digital entrepreneurs.
Prior to joining Axiata, Idham was COO of Packet-One Networks (P1), where he was key to growing the company from almost ground zero to become the fastest growing network. Among others, Idham also took on the role of Head of Strategy for Axis Telekom Indonesia where he was responsible for the launch of the new operations in Indonesia. He also served at Maxis Communications Berhad as General Manager in various functions, and in his last role, led the Enterprise Business for mobile and fixed services. Idham had spent his early career with IBM Malaysia and Carl Zeiss Inc in the USA.
Idham has served as member of the Board of Directors in Axiata’s mobile operating companies in Malaysia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and several Axiata Digital Services companies.
An engineer by training and a Chevening scholar, Idham earned his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Rochester, New York, USA, and MBA (Masters in Communications Management) from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
Commenting on the change of Leadership, Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, who is the Chairman of Celcom and President & Group CEO of Axiata, speaking also on behalf of the Axiata Board, said “We are pleased to welcome Idham as Celcom CEO. With his vast leadership and notable accomplishments in many roles, I am confident he will lead Celcom to the next level of transformation into a digital world as well as to pursue our profitable growth strategy. His decades of industry experience and familiarity of Celcom, being already a Board member, will certainly help him to move quickly in the transition”.
“At the same time, on behalf of the Board of Directors of Celcom and all of us, I would also like to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to Michael for his immense contributions and for positioning Celcom solidly for the great opportunities ahead. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
As one of the largest Asian telecommunication companies, Axiata today operates in ten countries, servicing approximately 290 million subscribers. With a diverse portfolio in mobile network operations, communications infrastructure services and digital services, the Group pieces together the best in connectivity, technology and people in its vision of Advancing Asia.
Axiata has controlling stakes in market leading mobile operators in South East Asia and South Asia. Axiata Group of companies operate under the brand name of ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia and 'Ncell' in Nepal. Further to this, the Group also holds strategic interests in ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in Singapore.
‘edotco’, the Group’s infrastructure company, operates in six countries to deliver telecommunications infrastructure services, amassing a portfolio of over 16,000 towers and 12,000 km of fibre. It aims to be one of the top regional tower companies and is committed to responsible and sustainable business operations.
Axiata Digital (AD), its digital services arm, captures the rapid growth in internet-based businesses through its portfolio of 24 digital brands, servicing growing demands in mobile money, mobile adverting, e-commerce, entertainment and education.
As a committed and long-term investor, Axiata provides employment to 25,000 people within its operations. In line with its sustainability goals, the Group actively supports and drives young talent development; disaster response and recovery; as well as green initiatives.