A regional champion in the making ;).
By LEONG HUNG YEE
IT is no secret to the industry that Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim, a man who is well versed in technology, intends to turn Axiata Group Bhd into a regional champion in just five years.
The MD, president and group chief executive officer says there are a lot of things to do, including harnessing internal talent and the group is currently making progress towards its vision.
“We’re far from being so (regional champion), that’s because we have a very aspiring target,” Jamaludin says in an interview with StarBizWeek.
He says Axiata’s focus is strictly on South Asia and Asean only. “We’re restricting our footprint. We’re not going to faraway lands”.
An employee working behind a computer terminal at an XL Axiata office in Jakarta. XL Axiata expects to overtake rival Indosat this year as the No. 2 mobile phone operator in Indonesia. — Reuters
Jamaludin, appointed two years ago to TM International Bhd (TMI), has a proven track record during his 10-year tenure at Maxis Communications Bhd; during which time he grew Maxis from a relatively small mobile player into the country’s biggest mobile operator. When Maxis was listed in 2002, it was a big success and continues to dominate the mobile sector in the country.
Under his stewardship, Axiata secured a foothold in the India market by merging its provincial Indian unit with a larger nationwide player.
For the first quarter ended March 31, Axiata posted a net profit of RM921.5mil, or 11 sen per share on revenue of RM3.81bil.
Its total mobile subscribers in the region grew by 37% to 130 million subscribers.
Celcom Axiata Bhd and PT XL Axiata Tbk, its Indonesian unit, combined contributed 83% to group revenue and 89% to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the quarter ended March 31.
Indeed, there has been tremendous progress after helming the group for two years. Still, Jamaludin says there are a lot of things to be done.
He says Axiata is always mindful of its competitors, both traditional and non-mobile players such as Skype and Google, which has recently ventured into the mobile domain.
“We will always worry about our competitor even if they are smaller,” he adds.
Two years after its listing, Axiata has a weightage of about 6.3% on the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index. The telco group currently outperformed the benchmark index, with year-to-date gains of more than 30%.
Jamaludin is proud to say that Axiata has managed to beef up all its operations in the 10 countries it has a presence.
At one point during the interview, Jamaludin drew a diagram to explain the base stations, switches, fibre optics and Axiata’s rationale for working with DiGi.Com Bhd. It just hits you how passionate Jamaludin is about the business.
Prior to joining Maxis, he was managing director and CEO of Digital Equipment (M) Sdn Bhd from 1993 to 1997.
Jamaludin started his career in 1981 as a lecturer in quantitative methods at California State University in 1980, before spending 12 years with IBM Malaysia.
The relaxed looking chief, graduated from California State University in 1978 with a BSc in business administration and minor in mathematics. He obtained his MBA from Portland State University, Oregon in 1980.
He was named “Mobile Operator CEO of the Year” several times with the latest from Frost and Sullivan Asia Pacific ICT Award 2009.
Even though his job keeps him busy, Jamaludin finds time to read and is currently reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.
He explains the Long Tail theory using music record analogy. He is also an ardent fan of Deep Purple.
Jamaludin says he actually travels more these days than before but tries to spend more time with his family. He is married to Datin Paduka Norizan Azizan and they have six children.
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Who said? The Star said ;).