Well before meeting Maybank chairman Datuk Mohaiyani Shamsudin, I was told about her sense of humour, gregarious nature and bubbly personality. Legend morphs into reality the afternoon we meet as the 69-year-old is indeed exactly as she is described — warm and absolutely personable with an easy laugh. The source of her quiet confidence is her enviable wealth of experience, making her exceptionally suitable for her position. Mohaiyani has enjoyed a rich and illustrious career in fi nance over the years, both in the public service and on her own as one of the earliest private stockbrokers in Malaysia’s then nascent financial services industry.
We meet at the 51st floor of Menara Maybank, where trays of delicious kuih (my compliments to Maybank’s catering department) have been laid out at Mohaiyani’s request, although she is fasting that day. Clad in a forest green baju kurung with a matching pale yellow tudung, she looks much younger than her age — the benefits of a life well lived doing a job she loves, we suggest? She laughs in agreement.
Mohaiyani was elected chairman of Maybank — an appointment that will go down in the bank’s history as it is the first time that a woman has acquired this role — in April last year. “I got so many calls after the appointment from people I haven’t heard from in so long ... they were so excited because it’s a woman holding this role,” she quips. “Ah, but it’s a blessing, and not just an honour but also an amanah. Trust. I have a lot to do.”
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