Incredible leadership from Tan Sri Zam – Congratulations

Frost & Sullivan celebrated the 13th Annual Malaysia Excellence Awards on April 13th in KL We presented over 36 awards to outstanding companies across diverse industries in Malaysia. Almost all the awards over the years have always been presented to companies for their growth, innovation and leadership. The only exception was for two other awards in the past which were given to individuals. This year, we presented the only third such award in the history of the awards program. We presented the award for “Outstanding Contribution to Industry Development” to Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa (Tan Sri Zam as he is affectionately known). The award was presented for his life long contribution to the telecom industry.

Tan Sri Zam joined TM over three decades ago as an engineer. Hr grew within the ranks of the company to eventually to become the Group CEO of the company in 2008. He took the leadership job during an extremely challenging time for the company. The TM group had just been split. The wireless business was spun off to create a entity – Axiata. It was the era of high growth for the mobile communications businesses driven by the growth of 3G networks and smartphones. There was considerable anxiety for employees and stakeholders of TM on how to carve out its future in this wireless world. Added to this, TM was also one of the largest employers in the country with close to 25,000 employees. Questions were asked about how will TM support this very large workforce.

Tan Sri Zam, led the company through these very challenging times. In the ensuring years, TM build a very strong broadband business across the country. It also retained its leadership on the Enterprise market and has grown this business over the years. Disciplined execution of the new business plan over the years resulted in record revenues in 2016, also combined with reduced operating costs.

TM is now positioned well as a converged operator with a strong foundation in enterprise business. TM operates from a position of strength as investor perception and valuation favors enterprise focus rather than the aggressive price pressures faced by consumer facing businesses. It has been a true privilege to watch this transformation as an analyst from the sidelines.

What is commendable about Tan Sr Zam’s achievement is his ability to manage diverse stakeholder interests (employees, government, shareholders, country) and yet deliver good financial performance. In today’s business environment where only financial results matter for most parts, we do not come across many leaders like him. Congratulations to Tan Sri Zam and his team at TM. The Malaysian telecom scene is now very exciting.

PS: We will do more to reward individuals in future award programs. There is very little personal recognition for individuals who spend their entire life building a product or working for a company or in the industry.

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