For Mohamed Rafique Merican FCCA, Group CFO of Maybank, the institution’s ‘compelling vision’ to grow both in Malaysia and beyond is his key motivator
Mohamed Rafique Merican FCCA holds the distinction of having served as CFO of two of Malaysia’s largest and most influential groups – in his current position at Malayan Banking (Maybank) and previously at Tenaga Nasional (TNB).
Malaysia’s largest bank, Maybank has 47,000 employees serving 22 million customers worldwide, while TNB, the national power utility company, has more than 33,500 employees and an estimated 8.3 million customers.
In both these giant corporations, Rafique has been a central figure in driving change and transformation to bring the groups to a higher level in their respective industries. Transforming an organisation is never easy, as there are many obstacles that can potentially derail the process. ‘When it comes to driving change, you must have patience,’ Rafique says. ‘Because not everyone is aligned, you have to spend time with people to explain why a certain approach is good for us.’
Despite the challenges which inevitably come with the job of driving change, Rafique is unflappable. In fact, it motivates him to work even harder. ‘It’s about leadership, drive and achieving the results,’ he says. ‘It’s a sense of achievement. You want someone who will come in and deliver, not only in his own individual capacity but with the team as well as the organisation.’
Rafique is also grateful that he was given the opportunity to obtain his ACCA Qualification in the UK. In fact, his career could have turned out to be very different as he initially planned to study computer science in the US. However, during his scholarship interview, he was advised to study accountancy because of his inclination for mathematics and languages. Rafique took this advice and left for the UK in 1983 to sit his A Levels. After gaining his ACCA Qualification in 1990, he returned to Malaysia.
Rafique is pleased that he chose accountancy and ACCA which has enabled him to have a varied and interesting career in different industries. ‘That’s the wonderful thing about the ACCA Qualification; your core [work] will still be finance but you can experience different industries, which enables you to widen and broaden your perspectives.
‘With the ACCA Qualification I am able to cross different industries, take on different and new roles,’ says Rafique, whose career path has taken him to companies in the property, facilities management, power and financial services sectors.
He endeavours to contribute to the ACCA community and is currently serving as a member of the ACCA Malaysia Advisory Committee. ‘We look at how we can advance ACCA, how we can make a difference, and how we can engage the younger generation that is just stepping out into accountancy.
‘Being in senior positions in the profession, we also want to share our experiences. When we were younger, we thought achieving the Qualification is probably what would define our careers. I think we owe it to the next generation to say that it is only just one step. The next step is how you actually shape your career,’ he adds.