MTC appoints historic first woman CEO

Noraihan Abdul Rahman, the new CEO of MTC, with effect from 1 Dec 2022 (Image: MTC)

The Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) CEO, Muhtar Suhaili, has resigned from MTC last 1 Oct 2022 after having served MTC for two-year and one-month. As of his last day on 30 Nov, Muhtar will pass the CEO baton to the council’s COO, Noraihan Abdul Rahman.

And as of 1 Dec, Noraihan will be the council’s first woman CEO in its 30-year history. She will oversee the strategic direction and drive sustainable growth for the council.

Noraihan has held various key posts in MTC. She began her career in MTC as an officer in the Market Promotion Division before being appointed as its deputy director in 2010. After serving for over two decades in the Market Promotion Division, she was promoted as the director of corporate communications Division in 2020 and subsequently appointed as the COO on 1 Mar 2022.

According to the press release by MTC, Noraihan’s promotion was celebrated as a step in the right direction for an industry that has few women in its top ranks.

Hajah Norrida Yusoff, chairman of MTC, characterised Noraihan’s new role as a point of pride for the council, especially in a competitive timber industry.

“I believe that, with her new, well-deserved role, Noraihan will continue to empower the staff and bring our company forward. She is a long-serving member of MTC and is knowledgeable about the timber industry. I am confident that Noraihan has all the qualities needed to drive MTC through its next phase of transition and growth.”

Meanwhile, Muhtar will be transiting to become the group chief operating officer (GCOO) of an integrated oil and gas solutions provider.

Since taking office, Muhtar has achieved many milestones as a key contributor to MTC’s growth. The first big move of his tenure as CEO, which began on 1 Nov 2020, was to accelerate action as the COVID-19 pandemic had a dire impact on the industry. Through his leadership, many safeguards were put in place to help the industry.

One example was when MTC expedited the mass vaccination among workers from the timber-based sector through its industrial vaccination programme to curb workplace clusters in factories as well as for business continuity.

He was instrumental in facilitating the Vaccination Programme for the Agricommodity Sector (VACOMS) at MTC’s Industrial Vaccination Centre (PPVIN) at Olak Lempit, Banting, Selangor, Malaysia, for this purpose has successfully vaccinated over 10,005 workers from the timber industry.

He was also the architect of the MTC Five-Year Roadmap to circumvent the effects of the pandemic, and pushed through various flagship programmes such as the Engineer Placement and Internship in Timber Industry Programme (EPIP) to increase the participation of knowledge workers and young talents as well as to encourage the adoption of technology to breathe new life into the timber industry.

“It has truly been a privilege to have served MTC for the past two years, bearing witness to and being directly involved in its many milestones of growth and accomplishments that have taken the council to where it proudly stands today,” said Muhtar.

“As CEO, I have been extremely fortunate to have had the collective trust and support of a well-functioning board whom was willing to challenge, debate, and discuss the decisions we made to ensure MTC would be on the right track to achieve its aspirations.

“I would also like to congratulate Noraihan on her appointment and being the first woman CEO of MTC. I wish her all the best in steering MTC towards its next chapter of growth.”

Hajah expressed her gratitude for Muhtar: “Muhtar has been a force in developing and driving MTC forward, especially in a very challenging but also exciting past two years. I cannot overstate the degree of admiration and gratitude which I and the board of trustees have for Muhtar. I am immeasurably grateful to him for his unparalleled contribution to the company.”