Effective Business Leaders Crucial Now, Says Najib

By Tuesday February 17th, 2009 No Comments

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 (Bernama) — The current global economic challenges have put chief executive officers (CEO) of companies in the front and centre of attention, with their past actions being scrutinised and their behaviour and actions going forward being closely watched, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said here, today.

CEOs, he said were expected to rise to the challenge and steer their organisations and corporations out of troubled waters that the world economy  was now in.

“The business world is witnessing massive upheaval and scandalous revelations. The crisis calls for a re-examination of the corporate culture and the way business had been done. In some of the scandalous revelations in the US, it has proven that business as usual is not an option anymore.

“That model has been been broken. A new way needs to be found. It calls for active, innovative, aggressive leadership and bold decisions. In view of this, effective leadership has never been more important,” he said at the New Straits Times and American Express organised Malaysia’s CEO of the Year Award 2008 ceremony at a leading hotel here.

He said periods of economic stress, test the ability and capability of CEOs and demand that they rise to the challenges and how they steer through such troubled times would show the mettle he or she is made of.

“The CEOs of today are being tested on several levels, both internally and externally. While they may have some control over their internal environment, they certainly do not know what awaits them externally in the current volatile business environment,” said Najib, who is also Finance Minister.

Reminding CEOs that loyal and hardworking employees were best assets of any organisation, he urged them to “strengthen and retain what you have” and that it would be difficult to find good workers when economic recovery eventually came.

He urged CEOs to train and equip staff with appropriate knowledge and skills to enhance efficiency and improve competitiveness, as these cannot be ignored even during difficult times like now.

Najib said in today’s fast paced, hyper competitive, technology driven world, common sense and good judgement mattered more than ever and “as leaders of your respective organisations, the shareholders and the board are not your only constituency as your decisions and actions have implications far beyond your office and company.”

“Therefore, to face the rapidly changing and increasingly hostile economic environment that effects your business, CEOs as leaders, must be prepared to change the reactive mindset, make a paradigm shift by taking the bull by the horn and be proactive in addressing issues that threaten your livelihood and the well being of your employees and customers,” added Najib.

The Deputy Prime Minister said in the fast paced world of business, CEOs must not only multi task and cater for varied and different demands on their time from the multitude of “constituents”, but also be ahead of the business cycle in ensuring the continued survival of their business.

“While, the bottom line and the financial performance of a company is important, there is more to running a corporation than just bottom lines. The continued survival of the company and that of the CEO will depend on the leadership and skills demonstrated in enhancing competitiveness and efficiency of the corporation, retaining and building confidence of their employees, maintaining trust of shareholders and retaining loyalty of customers.

In the current difficult environment, CEOs are required to deliver far more than they have done so in the past, he said, adding that a lot rested on them as business leaders trusted to deliver to customers the best service and quality products with honesty and integrity.

Meanwhile, Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh won the Malaysia’s CEO of the Year Award.

Source : Bernama

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