Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, the former chief executive of national oil company Petronas has joined Exxon Mobil Corporation’s board of directors, making him the first non-American to be appointed in the position in the firm’s history.
Exxon Mobil chief executive Darren Woods said Wan Zulkiflee’s global industry expertise and insights will complement the US oil producer’s highly-experienced board.
“His global industry expertise coupled with his insights related to the energy transition will complement our highly experienced board,” Woods added.
Wan Zulkiflee served from 2015 to 2020 as president and group chief executive officer of Petronas, the national oil and gas company of Malaysia
In his role as president and CEO at Petronas, Wan Zulkiflee led strategic growth and efficiency initiatives, and the company’s entry into specialty chemicals.
During his tenure, Petronas reported multiple years of strong results and furthered the company’s investments in lower-emission technologies.
Wan Zulkiflee is currently non-executive chairman of the boards of Malaysia Airlines Berhad and DRB-HICOM Berhad, and he is involved in a number of initiatives dedicated to education and public sector leadership.
Following Wan Zulkiflee’s appointment, Exxon Mobil now has 11 directors, 10 of whom are independent directors
In recent years the company has pursued additional board expertise in the areas of climate science, asset and risk management, and relevant industry experience.
Five independent directors have been appointed since 2016. The average director tenure for the ExxonMobil Board is under six years, compared to an average of eight years for companies in the S&P 500.
ExxonMobil said that it continues discussions with other director candidates with a range of skills sets for potential addition to its board, as part of its ongoing refreshment process. The board expects to take further action in the near term.
Wan Zulkiflee’s appointment to the board of Exxon Mobil comes after Exxon Mobil posted its first annual loss as a public company, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Reuters, the company reported a net annual loss of US$22.44 billion (RM90.83 bil) for 2020, compared with a full-year profit of US$14.34 billion (RM58.04 bil) the year before.