Sime Darby's group chief strategy officer resigns, hunt on for replacement [BTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Bhd's group chief strategy officer (GCSO) Datuk Thomas Leong Yew Hong has resigned after eight years at the industrial machinery and automotive group, and the hunt for his replacement is on.

A Sime Darby spokesperson confirmed his departure and that a selection process for his replacement has started.

"In the interim, the experienced senior management team of the group will ensure a smooth transition and continuity of operations. Driven by our five-year strategy masterplan, the group remains focused on continuing to deliver to its shareholders and stakeholders," the spokesperson said in written responses to queries from Business Times.

It is understood that Leong's  last day will be on June 30.

Leong was appointed Sime Darby's GCSO on Dec 1, 2017, with the break up of Sime Darby into three separate entities.

The company now known as SD Guthrie Bhd took over the plantations business, Sime Darby Property Bhd, the property business, while Sime Darby took over the industrial machinery and automotive business, among others.

It is understood that Leong is leaving ahead of the end of his contract in September, to take on a leadership role at another public-listed company.

In charge of the overall strategy for Sime Darby, Leong was responsible for business development, corporate finance and investor relations, as well as the group's communications functions. He also oversaw the group's new venture into the mobility sector.

Sime Darby has seen a few management moves this year following the completion of its RM5.8 billion takeover of UMW Holdings Bhd.

Its group chief financial officer (CFO) Mustamir Mohamad, who was also appointed to the role in 2017, was tapped to lead the newly acquired entity as managing director UMW division.

This led to Motors division CFO Muhammad Noor Abd Aziz moving up to the group's headquarters, as group CFO.

People familiar with the matter said an internal candidate is not expected to take on Leong's role.

A RM48 billion-revenue group as at its year-ended June 30, 2023, Sime Darby is present in 18 countries and territories.

It counts China and Australasia as its two biggest markets, making up 72 per cent of its revenue.

Its executive leadership is a diverse 10-member team led by group chief executive officer Datuk Jeffri Salim Davidson, who has been at the helm since November 21, 2017.

Australian Dean Mehmet leads the group's Industrial division, while another Australian Andrew Basham heads the Motors division.

Indonesian Deny Rahardjo is its group chief information and digital officer.

Sime Darby's share price last traded at RM2.54 a share, giving it a market capitalisation of RM17.3 billion.

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