Frankly Speaking: Explain what’s going on

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on July 1, 2019 - July 07, 2019.
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On June 21, word began spreading that Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib, executive vice-president and CEO of upstream operations at national oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), had been suspended from his duties pending an investigation.

Details were scarce, but market talk was that no financial graft was involved and that it was more of an investigation following a complaint.

However, there was no announcement by Petronas even though Mohd Anuar is high up in the company hierarchy and seen by many as a potential successor to current president and CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.

Last Friday morning, a local daily reported that Mohd Anuar had resigned from Petronas. Before going to print, the daily had attempted to contact Mohd Anuar and Petronas, but did not get a response from either.

Then, in the evening, Petronas Gas Bhd, a 60.63% unit of Petronas, announced to the local bourse that Mohd Anuar had resigned as chairman and director “in line with the internal reorganisation of Petronas, whereby Petronas Gas is now under the purview of Adif Zulkifli as executive vice-president and CEO of gas and new energy business of Petronas”.

In small print under “remarks”, Petronas Gas said, “On June 26, the board of directors accepted the resignation of Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib and [approve] the appointment of Adif Zulkifli as chairman and director of Petronas Gas with effect from July 1.”

This can only mean that all may not be well as Mohd Anuar is basically leaving Petronas Gas on fewer than four working days’ notice.

But Petronas has not come out to clear the air. It should not leave everyone wondering what is happening at the company.

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