Malaysia’s Sapura Energy – an upstream player and leading offshore fabricator – has a new chief executive after more than two decades with Petronas’ former upstream head Anuar Taib taking the reins on Tuesday.

Anuar takes the helm after Sapura founder and its chief executive Shahril Shamsuddin retired on Monday after leading the group for more than 25 years.

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Urging employees to continue carrying the Sapura flag under Anuar, Shahril said his successor is deeply committed to deepening and cementing the company’s position as a world- class technology powerhouse in the global energy industry. “

He has the experience, calibre and mettle to bring Sapura Energy upwards in the next phase of our journey,” Shahril said.

Succession plan

Sapura Energy’s succession plan was announced last year, ahead of Shahril reaching the retirement age of 60 on 22 March 2021.

Shahril founded Sapura in the mid 1990s, building the group from its humble beginnings as a diving contractor into the global integrated energy company that it is today.

Sapura noted his legacy includes the company’s wide range of technical capabilities and strategic assets in drilling, engineering and construction, exploration and production, and more recently, offshore windfarm construction

“On behalf of the board of directors, we wish to record our gratitude to Shahril, whose vision and determination turned Sapura Energy into a Malaysian multinational company capable of competing and winning on the global stage,” said Sapura chairman Shamsul Azhar Abbas.

“His leadership enabled Sapura Energy to grow from a domestic focused player into a renowned energy company serving the entire upstream value chain; and his foresight set the foundation for the group to progress beyond oil and gas into renewables.”

Sapura today has an international workforce of more than 11,000 – Malaysians account for around 86% of its employees - and a presence in upwards of 20 countries.

Sapura has contributed around 89 billion ringgit (US$21.64 billion) to the Malaysian economy over the last five years with more than 15 billion ringgit-worth of contracts awarded to domestic vendors.

The contractor has also repatriated more than US$2 billion in foreign currencies in the last three years.

Profitable turnaround

“We have seen a profitable turnaround in 2020 despite the challenging environment for the industry and the false narratives of a fickle market,” said outgoing boss Shahril in a farewell note.

He called on employees to work hard to sustain profitability for Sapura and its shareholders.

“Permodalan Nasional (one of Malaysia’s largest fund management companies) holds the biggest stake in Sapura Energy, which means our ultimate owners are the 14 million unitholders in the investment arm.

“These are ordinary Malaysians who have entrusted their savings to PNB,” he reminded.

“We have a huge obligation, an Amanah (trust)to protect and enhance the value of their investments.”

Anuar last August joined Sapura as an independent director, and he was appointed chief operating officer and chief executive designate in October.

His previous roles included Shell Malaysia chairman and Petronas chief executive officer upstream.

At Malaysia’s national oil and gas company, Anuar was instrumental in improving the delivery of capital projects, reducing operating costs and he established the low-cost and marginal field subsidiary Vestigo Petroleum, noted Sapura.

Anuar began his industry career in 1990 with Sarawak Shell after completing his Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Mechanical) from Case Western Reserve University in the US. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree in International Management from the RMIT University, Australia.