Tan Sri Dato’ Shamsul Azhar Abbas is the President and CEO of Petroleum Nasional Bhd (Petronas), the government-owned Oil and Gas Company that has risen to global prominence under his leadership. A highly educated intellectual, Tan Sri Dato’ Abbas holds a masters of science in energy management and a diploma in petroleum economics. His education was thus focussed on the petroleum sector and prepared him for the role he was to play in the corporate sector. He joined the company in 1975 as executive trainee and has made his way up the ranks over the years. He has served the company in its various branches of operation, from oil and petrochemicals to upstream exploration. Hence, he possesses a holistic knowledge of the business and is able to make managerial decisions with a bird’s eye view of the company’s operations.
Being a thoroughbred oil leader, he was called on to the presidency when the spot became vacant. Utilising his experience in the industry, he has helped Petronas in becoming an international player in oil. His predecessors had made policies based on the hope of pumping more foreign capital into the company. Moving away from that vision, he has laid thrust on development of the domestic oil fields and the exploration of deepwater projects. These have already received pledges of around $5 billion from oil majors across the globe.