CEO of Malaysian oil company Petronas to resign after five years

CEO of Malaysian oil company Petronas to resign after five years
Petronas CEO Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 June 2020

CEO of Malaysian oil company Petronas to resign after five years

CEO of Malaysian oil company Petronas to resign after five years
  • Wan Zulkiflee championed an ambitious $27 billion oil refinery and petrochemical project with partner Saudi Aramco

KUALA LUMPUR: The CEO of Malaysian state energy firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas, will soon step down after five years at the helm, state media reported on Saturday.

Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin will resign as president and chief executive officer, and will be succeeded by an internal candidate, state news agency Bernama said, citing unidentified sources.

The reported resignation comes at a challenging time for Petronas as low oil prices, weak demand and the coronavirus pandemic lower profits. It also follows a string of changes at state agencies since a new government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin came into power in March.

The CEO position at Petronas, fully owned by the Malaysian government, is a prime ministerial appointment. Wan Zulkiflee’s term as CEO was renewed in 2018 for three years.

Petronas declined to comment on “market rumor or speculation.”

The prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wan Zul, as he is known, is a Petronas veteran, joining the company in 1983 as a process engineer and working his way up through the ranks. He took over as CEO in 2015 and led the company through a period of tumultuous oil prices.

Benchmark Brent crude plunged to near 12-year lows soon after he took over, forcing Petronas to cut $12 billion from costs and thousands of jobs for the first time.