Meet some of the key players in the region’s business world
Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar (Malaysia)
Recently appointed as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Abdul Wahid Omar will take charge of the Economic Planning Unit. Omar is one of several new faces handpicked by Prime Minister Najib Razak for his cabinet following his re-election at the beginning of May. Since 2008, Omar has overseen the transformation of Maybank and expanded its regional presence in his role as president and CEO. Maybank is now the most valuable company listed on Bursa Malaysia and the fourth largest bank in Southeast Asia.
Dhanin Chearavanont (Thailand)
Head of Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand Group, Chearavanont is ranked at number 57 on Forbes’ 2013 World Billionaires List, making him the richest person in Southeast Asia.
Selected as Forbes Asia’s Businessman of the Year in 2011, the Thai tycoon has a net worth of $14.3 billion as of March 2013. Charoen Pokphand Foods, Thailand’s biggest food maker, has recently increased its efforts to use alternative fuel projects, which will consist of six biomass plants, three co-generation plants and a biodiesel plant, scheduled to begin operations later this year.
Roland Pirmez (Singapore)
Roland Pirmez has captained Asia-Pacific Breweries (APB), a subsidiary of beverage giant Heineken International, since October 2008. Following Heineken’s takeover of Singapore-listed APB in September 2012, Pirmez has held the roles of CEO of APB and president of Asia-Pacific for Heineken. Heineken’s existing operations in Asia have been integrated within APB to create a unified regional platform. Control of APB is set to strengthen Heineken’s presence in the crucial growth markets of developing Asia. Heineken NV will brew and sell Heineken in Myanmar by the end of 2014. APB’s portfolio includes brands such as Tiger beer and Bintang lager, and the company currently controls 30 breweries in 14 countries across the Asia-Pacific region.
Tay Za (Myanmar)
Business magnate Tay Za has interests in construction, tourism, infrastructure and mobile phone services. Reportedly a close associate of Myanmar’s former head of state, General Than Shwe, Tay Za owns the Htoo Group – the parent company of Air Bagan, Myanmar’s first privately owned airline. Tay Za, who was once Myanmar’s top extractor of timber, is expected to reap big profits following the recent opening up of Myanmar, here the tourism sector is set to explode.
Aireen Omar (Malaysia)
Aireen Omar took over as CEO of AirAsia’s Malaysian Operations in July 2012.
Previously she held the position of regional head of corporate finance, treasury and investor relations at AirAsia after joining the company in 2006 as director of corporate finance. Omar has been credited with keeping AirAsia above water during the financial crisis, by securing financing for new aircraft while other airlines in the region struggled.
In her current role, Omar will play a significant part in the regional growth of AirAsia by expanding the company’s market base to 600 million people in an effort to bring Asean ever closer together.
Photos: How Hwee Young/EPA; Khin Maung Win/AFP; Adam Lee