CIMB chairman Nazir Razak given green light to resume post after voluntary leave

CIMB chairman Nazir Razak has been given the go-ahead to return from a voluntary leave of absence and resume his position effective Thursday (May 19).
CIMB chairman Nazir Razak has been given the go-ahead to return from a voluntary leave of absence and resume his position effective Thursday (May 19).PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Following an extensive review by two boards of directors of Malaysian banking group CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and an external auditor, the bank's chairman Nazir Razak has been given the go-ahead to return from a voluntary leave of absence and resume his position effective Thursday (May 19).

In a statement on Wednesday, CIMB Group said that Nazir's return to the bank as the chair and director of CIMB Bank Bhd marked the completion of a comprehensive review conducted by the boards of CIMB Group and CIMB Bank, which commenced on April 5, on the banking activities relating to his personal account.

The activities in question were related to an article by The Wall Street Journal on March 31, 2016, reporting that Nazir had handled US$7 million (S$9.7 million) on behalf of his brother, Prime Minister Najib Razak, in the run-up to the 2013 general election.

"The findings from the review concluded that Nazir Razak did not misuse his position as group chief executive at the time nor was there any inappropriate use of the bank's resources," it said.

However, the detailed examinations conducted during the review identified some process shortcomings, it added.

Thus, the boards have instructed the management to put in place plans for immediate improvements as well as strengthening internal rules and processes to avoid reoccurrences, moving forward, said CIMB Group.

As part of its extensive good governance processes, the banking group had employed an external auditor, Messrs. Ernst & Young, and sought independent legal advice to assist them with the review.

Nazir had been on a voluntary leave of absence since April 19 to ensure the complete independence and integrity of the review.

Representing the boards, senior independent director and chairman of the audit committee for CIMB Group Mohd Nasir Ahmad said they welcomed Nazir's return to serve as chairman of CIMB Group and director of CIMB Bank.

"The boards are committed to maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance in our organisation, and this decision was taken with the firm intent towards fulfilling these obligations," he said.

Nasir added that apart from the findings of the review, the boards also took into consideration the vote of confidence from shareholders for Nazir's continued chairmanship at its recent AGM, as well as his track record of serving the group in various capacities since 1989 in arriving at the decision.