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12 May, 2021

Get to Know the Accidental Psyentist®: Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee, Director of People Psyence®

Tan Sri Wan Zukiflee is known to most as the former CEO of Petronas, the only Asian member of Exxon Mobil Group’s board of directors, and the non-executive Chairman of both DRB-Hicom and Malaysian Airlines and Malaysian Aviation Group. However, he is known in People Psyence® by the title he had sportingly given himself – Accidental Psyentist®. He believes that a happy ‘accident’ brought him to People Psyence® and he hopes to apply his wealth of knowledge and experience in advising and providing strategic direction to the organisation.

Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee is a remarkable individual who has received recognition far and wide. In fact, his achievements come up to two pages long! Worry not, for though we are immensely proud of this fact, we will just list a few of his notable career highlights.

Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee received the Commander of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia (PSM) award in 2017 and has been recognised internationally for two consecutive years as one of the 100 Global Brand Guardians by Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation authority. He is the first Asian director of Exxon Mobil Group, as well as the non-executive Chairman for both DRB-Hicom and the Malaysia Airlines and Malaysian Aviation Group. He is also the first engineer to become the CEO of Petronas. During his five years as the President and CEO of Petronas, despite the severe downturn in the oil and gas industry, Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee brought about organisational transformation resulting in sustainability and resilience, which enabled Petronas’ international expansion in recent years.

Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee’s contributions are not just limited to the corporate sector; he has also made an impact in the education and public sectors. He was the Pro Chancellor of University Technology Petronas, an Adjunct Professor and Industry Advisory Board Member at the Islamic University of Malaysia, a member of the Board of Trustees at the Razak School of Government, a member of the Advisory Council of Institut Pentadbiran Awam and the Chairman of the Malaysian National Trust Fund.  

Despite his many achievements, Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee is an introvert who is modest, authentic and principled. He is a travel enthusiast who has been to more than forty countries and flown on more than twenty-eight different airlines. However, he is not your typical globetrotter with a bucket list of touristy places to visit, but a traveller who journeys the road less travelled to experience the authentic local culture of the places he visits. He is also a fan of F1 racing and is knowledgeable about the teams, drivers and technology involved.

Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee first heard of People Psyence® in passing in a conversation with Datuk Danel in 2016. Following his retirement in 2019, he was searching for interesting opportunities to invest his time in when he re-stumbled upon People Psyence®. Passionate about organisational culture, talent development and digitalisation in the workplace, People Psyence® and its offerings resonated with him. He sees a lot of potential for People Psyence® and hopes to guide the organisation in realising its potential to grow in leaps and bounds.

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