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Maybank Names Farid CEO After Najib Taps Wahid for Cabinet

Malayan Banking Bhd., Malaysia’s biggest lender, promoted Abdul Farid Alias to become chief executive officer after his predecessor was tapped by Prime Minister Najib Razak to become a government minister.

Abdul Farid, the bank’s current head of global banking, will take up the new post with immediate effect, Maybank Chairman Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur today.

“We need somebody with a strategic mindset to take us to the next higher level,” Megat told reporters in the Malaysian capital. “We need somebody who could take bold decisions to move ahead.”

The Kuala Lumpur-based lender has accelerated its overseas expansion, buying a controlling stake in PT Bank Internasional Indonesia in 2008 and Singapore brokerage Kim Eng Holdings Ltd. in 2011. Abdul Farid, 45, will be expected to complete Maybank’s goal of having a footprint in all 10 Southeast Asian countries by 2015, including possibly making an acquisition in Thailand. It also owns smaller stakes of lenders in Vietnam and Pakistan.

Abdul Farid started his career at Maybank’s investment banking unit in 1992 after graduating from Pennsylvania State University with an accounting degree and University of Denver with an MBA in Finance, according to the company. He rejoined the bank in 2009 after serving as a director of investments at Khazanah Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state wealth company.

‘Psyching Myself’

He was selected after a review of both internal and external candidates, Megat said. Abdul Farid said he was informed of his appointment at about 11 a.m. today during a management committee meeting.

“I’ve been psyching myself up for this,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Maybank shares have risen 12 percent this year, outperforming a 5.5 percent gain in the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index. The stock closed 0.8 percent lower today at 10.32 ringgit before the appointment was announced.

Abdul Wahid Omar, who led Maybank for five years, was appointed a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department overseeing the country’s Economic Planning Unit after Najib’s government was returned to power in Malaysia’s May 5 general election.

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