Dato’ Sri Idris Jala

President & Chairman


From the lush greens of Sarawak to solving socio-economic blues

As a native Kelabit from the Bario highlands of Sarawak, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala made a conscious decision in his early years to excel in his academic pursuit to enable himself the means to forge a highly successful professional career. Today, he lends his extensive experience to global public and private sector in their transformational journey.

Much has been said about change – how it is inevitable, necessary and, sometimes, painful. President and CEO of PEMANDU Associates, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala, has a global reputation for embracing change as a renowned transformation guru in rescuing ailing ventures and countries. An advocate and practitioner of his Big Fast Results (BFR) Methodology – 8 Steps of Transformation©, he has dedicated his career to helping business and governments worldwide through transformational strategies that are innovative, rigorous, and relevant in today’s fast-changing world.

Formerly a Minister under the Prime Minister’s Department from 2009 to 2014, he spearheaded the participation of both the private and public sectors in co-creating a cohesive environment for Malaysia towards high-income status by the year 2020.

With a notable track record in moving markets and shaping policies, Bloomberg acknowledged him as one of the top 50 most influential policy makers in the world in 2014. This also saw PEMANDU named as one of the top 20 most innovative Government agencies in the world by NESTA in the UK.

Under his leadership, PEMANDU was also named by NESTA, UK and Bloomberg Philanthropies as one of the Top 20 Most Innovative Government Agencies in the world. Today, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala works with governments all over the world to deliver their respective transformation targets.

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Dato’ Sri Idris Jala is no stranger to the global corporate world having worked at Shell for 23-years, where he engineered business turnarounds for the Sri Lankan and Malaysian units as appointed CEO. He continued to demonstrate transformational leadership in his role as appointed CEO of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) by the Government, where he enabled the company to achieve a record profit of US$250,000 million 2 years after its worst losses at that time. He was awarded the CAPA Airline Turnaround of the Year in 2006 for his success.

As a man with a chequered career journey, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala is a popular public speaker. He founded the Global Transformation Forum (GTF) – the world’s singular platform for iconic global leaders to engage and share experiences on best practices of driving transformation. In addition, he continues to empower leaders as an Expert Resource Speaker at the Harvard Health Leaders’ Ministerial Forum and a Visiting Fellow of Practice at the Oxford Blavatnik School of Government. He also served on the Advisory panel for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on New Economic Growth and on the Advisory Panel of World Bank.

Dato’ Sri Idris Jala holds a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies and Management from University Sains Malaysia and a master’s degree in Industrial Relations from Warwick University.

Areas of Expertise

Dato’ Sri Idris Jala has provided socio-economic transformation and business turnaround advisory for foreign governments and organisations in both the public and private sector.

Public sector transformation:

  • Malaysia
  • Oman
  • Tanzania
  • Nigeria
  • Lesotho
  • Russia
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Senegal

Private sector transformation:

  • Oil and Gas
  • Aviation
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Transportation
  • Tourism & hospitality
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Human capital and labour development

Honours & Awards

  • Top 10 Most Influential Policy Makers in the World by Bloomberg in 2014
  • The Italiana Star of Solidarity Order at the Highest Class of Grande Ufficiale in 2009
  • PJN Panglima Jasa Negara – Datuk in 2007
  • PGBK Panglima Gemilang Bintang Kenyalang in 2007
  • SSAP Darjah Kebesaran Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang Yang Amat dimulia-Peringkat Pertama Sri Sultan Ahmad Shah in 2007