Jee Von: Harnessing Growth Potentials For The Brand To Make Every Step Count

Jee Von: Harnessing Growth Potentials For The Brand To Make Every Step Count

Shakeel Khan , CEO

Shakeel Khan


Leaders and CEOs of firms embody the driving force behind strategic visions and operational excellence. They shoulder the responsibility of steering their organizations through dynamic landscapes, making critical decisions that impact growth, innovation, and market relevance. One such exemplary leader is Shakeel Khan, a seasoned professional with a remarkable career spanning almost three decades in the energy sector. Shakeel's journey with 'PETRONAS' commenced in 1994, where he gained expertise in petroleum processing and refining at PETRONAS Melaka Refinery. He then transitioned to PETRONAS’ trading arm, PETRONAS Trading Corporation (PETCO), delving into crude oil and product trading. In 2006, he joined PETRONAS Lubricants International, where he successfully established PETRONAS Lubricants (India) as a lubricant marketing company in Mumbai, India. Shakeel's versatile career evolved within PETCO, encompassing trading roles in Asia Pacific and the Middle East. In 2012, he joined PCG, progressing from the Ammonia and Fertilizer Department's Head of Marketing and Sales to General Manager of the Polymer Business. Currently, as CEO of PETRONAS Chemicals Marketing (Labuan) (PCML) and Chief Commercial Officer for PCG, Shakeel masterfully navigates petrochemicals and commercial strategies with his profound industry insights. In an insightful dialogue with CEO Insights Asia magazine, Shakeel unfolds the compelling nuances of his professional milestones, growth strategies and future roadmap for PCML. Here's an excerpt from the intriguing conversation.

Share with us your academic experience from Universiti Sains Malaysia. What did you learn from the campus beyond academics?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a student at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), as it served as a space for me to hone my interest and passion for Chemistry. Beyond the academic pursuits, my educational journey was enriched by immersive co-curricular experiences. An active engagement in sports played a pivotal role in shaping my holistic growth. Representing the Penang state in the Malaysian Hockey League and being a part of the university squash team underscored the significance of teamwork in these dynamic environments. The camaraderie inherent in team sports taught me invaluable interpersonal skills, which are crucial in the complex realm of business.

Define PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad as an organization and its position in the market.

PCG's journey began almost 40 years ago with the establishment of PETRONAS’ first petrochemical plant, focusing on ammonia and urea production. Since then, it has evolved and expanded significantly, playing a vital role in harnessing the value of gas as a feedstock for PETRONAS. This growth trajectory led PCG to venture into olefins and derivatives, while also solidifying its presence in urea and methanol production. Amidst its three key business segments encompassing Olefins and Derivatives, Fertilizers and Methanol as well as Specialties, PCG is Malaysia’s leading integrated chemicals producer, producing over 10.4 million tons per annum across various facilities in 2022.

Within petronas chemicals group berhad, we are passionate about improving the quality of life through chemistry & shaping the future with continuous innovation

As the CEO of PCG’s marketing arm, PCML, what are the factors you consider when developing effective corporate growth strategies?

The cornerstone of our strategic efforts lies in fortifying our market standing, propelled by a twofold approach. Firstly, we are committed to augmenting our market presence by not only expanding our customer base but also increasing each customer's wallet share. A pivotal aspect of this endeavor is our unwavering dedication to after-sales service, nurturing lasting relationships and enhancing customer loyalty. Integral to this effort is our adept technical team, working in concert under my guidance. Furthermore, we uphold vigilance in an ever-evolving competitive landscape. Regular portfolio reviews serve as the compass guiding our positioning strategy. This approach involves evaluating the relevance and attractiveness of our offerings in the face of competitor dynamics. Our commitment to agility is also reflected in our astute market assessment, deftly repositioning ourselves across countries to maximize value, which has contributed to revenue growth for PCG over the years.

What is your perception of the future changes of the market and what would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs in the field?

The landscape of our industry has undergone a monumental shift in the aftermath of the pandemic, spanning a transformative two-year period. This profound change has ushered in a plethora of new opportunities, necessitating agility and adaptability. Responding to the evolving market demands, we have developed products catering to the surging need. An immediate concern revolves around accessing cost-effective feedstock. The surging oil prices, fluctuating between $75 to $85 over the past couple of months, have escalated costs, significantly impacting petrochemical producers reliant on naphtha-based resources. In this realm, our strategic advantage as a gas-based producer, enjoying access to economically viable feedstock, becomes evident. It's imperative for enterprises to comprehend this crucial aspect of the value chain. For aspiring entrepreneurs, it is essential to recognize the nuances of feedstock cost dynamics.

What is the future destination you are headed towards?

My foremost goal centers around nurturing and empowering leaders, particularly at the helm of each department. This emphasis on succession planning is vital to ensure a seamless transition and to cultivate individuals poised to propel our company to unprecedented heights. Reflecting on our trajectory, I take pride in our accomplishments. The years 2021 and 2022 stand as testaments to our unwavering dedication, yielding remarkable results for PCG. Additionally, the integration of our specialty chemical segment augments our potential, with the potential of substantial rewards as we navigate this exciting new direction.

Shakeel Khan, CEO, PETRONAS Chemicals Marketing (Labuan)

Shakeel Khan is a seasoned professional in the energy sector, with a career spanning nearly three decades. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Universiti Sains Malaysia. With strategic acumen and a keen commercial sense, he currently serves as the CEO of PCML, a critical arm of PCG, while concurrently holding the esteemed position of Chief Commercial Officer for PCG. In this dual role, he orchestrates the group's commercial strategies, marrying his profound industry insights with a focus on specialized chemicals.

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