Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin to Succeed Shamsul Azhar Abbas as Petronas CEO

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak appointed Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin as president and CEO of national oil company Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) to succeed incumbent Shamsul Azhar Abbas, who will step down March 31, according to a media statement from the Office of the Prime Minister Monday.

Wan Zulkiflee, Petronas' current chief operating officer and executive vice president (Downstream), will assume his new assignment April 1 under a three year contract that will expire March 31, 2018. The new CEO, who is 54 years old, also holds the post of chairman of Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd.

"The Prime Minister said Wan Zulkiflee has the qualifications and experience to bring continued success to the national oil company," Malaysia's Bernama news agency reported.

Wan Zulkiflee was one of four candidates believed to be on the government's shortlist for the top job in Petronas.

Senior vice president of Petronas' upstream business Mohd Anuar Taib -- a former Shell Malaysia chairman and vice president (upstream international) -- was understood to be one of the contender, local daily The Star said Monday.

Ahmad Nizam, managing director and CEO of Petronas' 80 percent-owned Engen Ltd. in South Africa, and Petronas'  current senior vice president of corporate strategy and risk Md Arif were the remaining two being considered for the CEO post.

Meanwhile, Petronas CEO Shamsul's contract, which ended Monday, was extended to March 31. He took over from former CEO Hassan Marican in February 2010 after joining Petronas in 1975.

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