Khazanah hires CIMB's head of investment banking

Charon Wardini Mokhzani, CIMB’s group deputy CEO with responsibility for investment banking, is leaving the Malaysian bank in early November to take on a new career challenge with Khazanah Nasional, the two firms said in separate announcements on Monday.

Charon, who is also CEO of CIMB investment bank, will at Khazanah take on a role as executive director in the managing director’s office. The state-owned investment company is the largest shareholder in CIMB with a 30% stake.

Charon is responsible for the day-to-day running of CIMB’s investment banking business – a job he has had since he joined the bank in August 2004.

CIMB said group CEO Nazir Razak will take over as head of investment banking on a temporary basis when Charon leaves to ensure the business continues to operate smoothly while the bank looks for a permanent replacement.

“We thank Charon for successfully leading and growing our investment banking business over the last 10 years. He has kept CIMB at the top of its game in Asean and guided the franchise to its enviable position as [the largest investment bank in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan],” the CIMB announcement quoted Nazir as saying.

The investment banking business was given a major boost when CIMB bought part of Royal Bank of Scotland’s equities and advisory business in Asia-Pacific in 2012 and the bank has been moving up this year in the equity capital market regional rankings. However, investment banking only accounts for about 5% of the group's total pre-tax profit.

Charon’s role as CEO of the investment bank, which includes the investment banking division as well as corporate client solutions, corporate banking, treasury & markets, asset management and private banking, will be left vacant for now. According to a bank spokesperson, there are enough heads and co-heads of the different businesses within the investment bank to nullify the short-term impact of Charon's departure on daily operations.

Aside from the heads of the different businesses, CIMB also has a deputy CEO of the investment bank in the form of Kong Sooi Lin. Kong, who has been with CIMB since 1994, is also co-head of the corporate client solutions and advisory division for Asia-Pacific together with former RBS banker Matthew Kirkby.

Charon joined CIMB in 2004 from Malaysian law firm Zaid Ibrahim and Co, where he was a managing partner. He has a total of 23 years of career experience in law, corporate finance and investment banking. In addition to his two major roles at CIMB, he is currently also chairman of CIMB Principal Asset Management, CIMB Wealth Advisors and CIMB Mapletree. The latter is a 60-40 joint venture between CIMB and Singapore’s Mapletree Investments that invests in real estate assets in Malaysia.

He will work his last day at CIMB on November 4 and will join Khazanah two days later.

Khazanah, which is sometimes referred to as Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund, has more than 50 major Malaysian and international companies in its portfolio. As of the end of March this year, it had $40.6 billion of assets under management, based on its own calculations. Aside from CIMB, its key listed companies include Telekom Malaysia, power producer Tenaga Nasional, telecom operator Axiata, hospital operator IHH Healthcare and Malaysia Airports.

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