Mohamad Idham Nawawi appointed as Celcom CEO to replace Michael Kuehner

Caption for pic above: Idham Nawawi

Celcom Axiata Berhad (Celcom) announces the appointment of Mohamad Idham Nawawi as the new Chief Executive Officer effective 1 September 2018, taking over from Michael Kuehner whose tenure as CEO ends on 31 August 2018. This succession is part of the original plan two years ago to appoint an internal talent for the next phase of transformation.

Michael has made enormous contributions through his vision and relentless drive to transform Celcom into a modern, agile and digital organization. His core strategy to provide the best customer experience in the industry saw Celcom achieve significant improvements in many areas in products and services, network quality and coverage especially in the deployment of 4G, sales and distribution as well as digitisation.

Following a well-structured Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata) and Celcom succession planning and a thorough selection process, the Celcom Board had concluded that Idham is best positioned to take over from Michael. As an internal talent with excellent management and operational experience within the Group, as well as a member of the Celcom Board, Idham is already well versed in Celcom’s strategic directions, operations and challenges. The Board is confident Idham will be able to move quickly and efficiently to execute on the next phase of transformation.

Idham is an established telecommunications professional with over 25 years of business and operations experience within the telecoms industry in Malaysia and within the region. He has held various senior management and directorship positions with several international and local organizations, including multiple startups.

With the Group since 2012, Idham currently holds the position of Group Chief Corporate Officer (“GCCO”), responsible for Regulatory Management, Corporate Communications & Sustainability, Corporate Affairs and Government Relations for the Group, as well as managing the Group CEO’s Office and the Axiata Program & Governance Office.

Idham also led the Transformation Program Office for Axiata 2.0 from 2012 to 2015, which was the impetus of Axiata’s expansion beyond its core mobile business into new digital services and tower business. As interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Axiata Digital Services during its start-up phase in 2014, he was also instrumental in establishing the RM100 million Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (“ADIF”) targeting at developing Malaysian digital entrepreneurs.

Prior to joining Axiata, Idham was COO of Packet-One Networks (P1), where he was key to growing the company from almost ground zero to become the fastest growing network. Among others, Idham also took on the role of Head of Strategy for Axis Telekom Indonesia where he was responsible for the launch of the new operations  in Indonesia. He also served at Maxis Communications Berhad as General Manager in various functions, and in his last role, led the Enterprise Business for mobile and fixed services. Idham had spent his early career with IBM Malaysia and Carl Zeis Inc in the USA.

Idham has served as member of the Board of Directors in Axiata’s mobile operating companies in Malaysia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and several Axiata Digital Services companies.

An engineer by training and a Chevening scholar, Idham earned his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Rochester, New York, USA, and MBA (Masters in Communications Management) from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.

Commenting on the change of Leadership, Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, who is the Chairman of Celcom and President & Group CEO of Axiata, speaking also on behalf of the Axiata Board, said “We are pleased to welcome Idham as Celcom CEO. With his vast leadership and notable accomplishments in many roles, I am confident he will lead Celcom to the next level of transformation into a digital world as well as to pursue our profitable growth strategy. His decades of industry experience and familiarity of Celcom, being already a Board member, will certainly help him to move quickly in the transition”.

“At the same time, on behalf of the Board of Directors of Celcom and all of us, I would also like to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to Michael for his immense contributions and for positioning Celcom solidly for the great opportunities ahead. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”


About Celcom Axiata Berhad

Celcom is Malaysia’s leading data network provider, with 9.6 million customers. Established in 1988, it boasts the widest national 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks, covering over 98% of the population. Currently the largest mobile broadband and corporate services provider, Celcom is now moving towards integrated multi-access and multimedia services, in line with evolving technologies and consumer behaviour in Malaysia. A culture that places the customer FIRST™ is reflected in our award-winning customer service, products, and other corporate accolades at a regional level. Celcom is part of the Axiata Group of Companies, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, with close to 350 million customers across 11 Asian markets. For more information on Celcom, log on to

About Axiata
Axiata is one of the leading telecommunications groups in Asia with approximately 350 million customers and with a presence in 11 countries. In pursuit of its vision to be the New Generation Digital Champion by 2021, the Group has transformed itself from a holding entity with a portfolio of pure-play mobile assets into a Triple Core Strategy driven business with the focus on Digital Telco, Digital Businesses and Infrastructure.

Within ASEAN and South Asia, Axiata has controlling stakes in market-leading mobile and fixed operators in the region including ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia and ‘Ncell’ in Nepal. The Group also holds strategic interests in ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in Singapore. Axiata is in the cusp of transforming its mobile operations into Digital Telcos through digitisation and convergence.

‘edotco’, the Group’s infrastructure company, operates in six countries to deliver telecommunications infrastructure services, amassing approximately 27,500 towers. Presently the 12th largest independent tower companies globally, it aims to be one of the top regional telecommunications tower companies and is committed to responsible and sustainable business operations.

Axiata Digital and Axiata Business Services are the digital businesses arms of the Group. Together, these businesses are focused on capturing the rapid growth in digital financial services (‘Boost’), digital advertising (‘ada’), enterprise solutions/IoT (‘Xpand’) and platform services (‘APIgate’) with user access to global markets.

As a committed and long-term investor, Axiata provides employment to 25,000 people within its operations. In line with its sustainability goals, the Group actively supports and drives young talent development; disaster response and recovery; as well as green initiatives. Axiata’s broader goal Advancing Asia pieces together the best in the region in terms of innovation, connectivity and talent.