Shareholders of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) have been urged not to worry about any change of guard at the institutional fund since it has been managed to a high standard of professionalism to date.

Putra Business School’s (PBS) Assoc. Prof. Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff said the current PNB management team is capable enough in ensuring the sustainability and contribution of PNB to shareholders and the nation continues for the foreseeable future.

He said he believes that the new president and group chief executive (PGCE) would provide better stability to the company as the country is still recovering from the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Being one of the largest fund management companies in Malaysia, steady stewardship from the top is needed to navigate the investment strategies of the company for the next few months,” he told Bernama, in response to news that PNB’s PGCE Jalil Rasheed had tendered his resignation on Monday.

News that PNB’s youngest PGCE was poised to depart PNB had lingered around the market since the end of last week, with a board meeting of PNB’s directors expected to be called to deliberate on the matter.

The news report quoted sources as saying one reason for the departure was related to issues surrounding Jalil’s appointment as PGCE last October.

In a statement today, PNB confirmed that it had accepted Jalil’s resignation as the company’s PGCE.

Market talk lingered that the position would be replaced by Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn, who is currently deputy managing director at Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

About a month ago, Ahmed Razman said, PNB launched its latest strategic plan for the year ‪2020-2022‬ called 'Focus 4' which outlines diversification, value creation, risk management and organisational transformation while preparing for future headwinds and evolving market landscapes.

“Therefore, any successor to the outgoing PGCE should just ensure that this strategic plan is continued and executed without the need to have a new one.

“If the new PGCE is appointed from within PNB’s top management, it will provide better stability to the organisation, which is what is needed during this time of uncertainty,” he added.

In a separate news report, veteran newsman Datuk A. Kadir Jasin claimed that Jalil was being forced out by unnamed critics who were putting a spotlight on alleged discrepancies in his academic qualifications.

Jalil replaced Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad as PNB’s PGCE in October last year.

In a statement announcing Jalil’s appointment, PNB said the move was in line with the “government’s wish to make optimal use of Malaysian global talents and consistent with the fund’s strategic initiative to diversify its assets globally.”

Meanwhile, in his farewell note today, Jalil gave his thanks to the PNB leadership team for being supportive of his initiatives.

“I have tried very hard to be inclusive and to widen the decision-making process. I apologise I am not able to see through with you till the end. Please continue your initiatives and give the incoming PGCE the same support you have extended me,” he wrote.