Saturday June 30, 2012
A corporate traveller
By YAP LENG KUEN
BEFORE managing Malaysia's giant power company, Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohd Noh was running several types of companies including railways.
“I am a corporate traveller,'' he remarks when asked if he would rejoin the power sector after finishing his contract as president and CEO of Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) today.
TNB is Che Khalib's seventh company. Basically, he likes to get involved in turnaround work as well as business expansion.
“For instance, TNB Repair and Maintenance Sdn Bhd was making less than RM30mil but now, that has grown to RM500mil. In 2005, I was already done selling off the non-core businesses of TNB,'' Che Khalib recalls of his early days of tackling problems at TNB.
“Everyday, I look forward to come to the office,'' he tells StarBizWeek. “I like to see what new difference I can make each day. I get a lot of fun and satisfaction from my work.''
At the last board meeting, Che Khalib was asked if he had a second chance to run TNB, would he have done it differently.
“No, it will be the same,'' he says.
Che Khalib is mindful of wastage. Staff sending proposals involving money have to run through the reason several times before approaching him.
“I travel business class even though I am eligible for first class,'' he says. “I think it is wasting money.
“People say I am silly. But money is money, and that is company money (which can be used for other things),'' he says.
Any staff who mistakenly puts him up in a deluxe hotel room may get scolded for he prefers a standard room.
He prefers to eat at the warong than a fancy place. “My wife asks if we cannot go to a better place to eat.
“I say it is cheap and sometimes, the food is quite nice. Besides, I can go in my jumpers,'' he says. “We cannot go fine dining all the time that is for style only; moreover, some of the food is not that nice.''
“It is the behaviour of the leadership (that will inspire the staff). They should be thrifty and think first whether it is necessary to spend,'' he says.
At one time, things got so serious that Che Khalib was called “Tok Mudim,'' the circumcision expert.
Breakfast this morning will be first time in eight years he can sit peacefully with his family comprising his wife Datin Seri Suzlifah Hanim Mohd Atil and their five children.
“I will be able to sit down with my wife and children for breakfast and not worry so much about company matters,'' he says at an interview. “Sometimes, even though I am with them, I will be thinking of problems.''
After the fasting month and Hari Raya, he may take a short holiday. Meanwhile, farewells are still going on.
Due to shortage of time and also to save money, Che Khalib has avoided going personally to bid farewell at the TNB branches outstation.
That will probably be done through the Internet.
At 47, Che Khalib is too young to retire.
His job at TNB has been substantially completed and it is time to move on.
He is reluctant to divulge where he is heading next, only to say that he is working on a few possibilities.
A qualified accountant, Che Khalib was managing director of Mark Unggul Sdn Bhd, the consortium company responsible for running the national railway company Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB). He was also chief operating officer of Renong Overseas Corp from January 1996 to July 1997.
He was appointed chairman, executive committee, and chief executive of KTMB until May 1999.
At SAJ Holdings Bbd, which he joined in June 1999 till November 2002, he transformed and turned around the loss-making company into a proftable one and even came up with the listing of SAJ/Ranhill Utilities on the KL Stock Exchange.
Che Khalib was invited to become CEO of KUB Bhd, a government-linked company that was suffering from massive losses and about to be declared as not a going concern.
When the Government embarked on its Government-linked companies transformation programme, Che Khalib was head-hunted to lead TNB which was seen as a non-performing GLC then.
Besides financial management, improvement in service quality and cost control, Che Khalib also turned loss-making subsidiaries at TNB into profitable entities while establishing new businesses.
A comprehensive staff development and succession programme was developed together with corporate responsibility programmes in education and environment.
Che Khalib places integrity and high standard of corporate governance as key success factors in the effort to turn around TNB.
Among his numerous accolades, Che Khalid is Malaysia's CEO of the Year in 2008 and has won the Business Leadership Award as well as Lifetime Achievement Award.