KUALA LUMPUR, April 2008: Kamal Haji Nawawi, Senior Vice President Strategic Human Capital Management, Khazanah Nasional Berhad was about to leave his office at the Petronas Twin Towers to meet with the CEO of a government-linked company (GLC). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the GLC’s participation in the new talent exchange program. The talent exchange program was an ambitious and groundbreaking scheme devised in 2007 to cultivate managerial talent within Malaysia’s GLCs in a rapid and innovative way. There were 20 key GLCs in Malaysia – often referred to as the G20. Most of them were listed on the Malaysian stock exchange and all were seen as strategic to Malaysia’s long-term economic interests. The program called upon participating GLCs to temporarily exchange their most promising rising-star managers. By exposing these managers to alternative tasks and best practices in different industries, the scheme would accelerate the development of their leadership capabilities and talents in a unique way. Never before had this been attempted neither among companies operating in different industries nor competitors within the same industry. Six companies from the G20 had agreed to participate in the program. The CEO whom Kamal was about to meet had hitherto been reluctant to implement this new talent development program. Kamal was aware of some of his reservations about the program, but also knew that this was a very innovative program that would provide great opportunities for companies to exchange best practices, as well as for young professionals aspiring to develop their leadership skills and increase their exposure to other companies.
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