Only once the vision has been set, can the leader steer the ship and drive the company, says Mohamad Zuki Wan Abdullah, CEO of FGV Transport Services. Now with the company for 30 years, Zuki’s vision is clear: make it a market leader in Malaysia by 2023.

Mohamad Zuki Wan Abdullah says his greatest motivation comes from his colleagues, staff and family. “Sometimes when I go home tired and stressed, my family is my source of inspiration to move forward,” he says.

Zuki is CEO of FGV Transport Services, a total logistics service provider serving both internal and external companies with domestic and international transportation requirements. Established in 1975, the business was initially under the name of Perbadanan Angkut Felda, a subsidiary of Felda Group of companies. The company, now a subsidiary of public-listed FGV Holdings Berhad, was originally started to provide transportation services for the Group and has since grown and expanded.

“When the business was set up, it only had a few trucks. We have now grown to become one of the largest land transport companies in Malaysia,” Zuki says. “We have close to 500 trucks with more than 12 locations all over Malaysia, and nearly 600 staff.”

While the company is primarily focused on providing logistics services for palm oil and palm oil products for the Group, FGV Transport Services also provides logistics solutions to cater to oil and gas, infrastructure, government, defence, telecommunications and energy industries.

“My plan is for FGV Transport Services to provide the total logistics solution for internal companies as well as external business in various growth segments,” Zuki says.

In September 2019, Zuki celebrated his 29th anniversary with FGV Group. His early roles included assignments in operations and engineering projects before being appointed CEO of various business such as refinery, oleochemical and bulking. In July 2019, he was appointed CEO of FGV Transport Services.

“I’m moving this company from ‘business as usual’ to ‘thinking beyond FGV’,” he says. Zuki explains that his team provides endless inspiration and motivation. “It’s busy and challenging but exciting. I am proud of my team. They are young, dynamic and want to move forward together. I have a good team who support me as the CEO,” he says.

I’m moving this company from ‘business as usual’ to ‘thinking outside the box’.

“That gives me comfort. I am not alone steering the ship. You have the captain of the ship, but you also have people with you to manoeuvre the ship together. Although there are rough seas, I have a team that supports me well. They motivate and inspire me to face the challenges and the difficulties.”

Having work–life balance is important at FGV Transport Services. They work hard, but also try to create a fun workplace. The company organises sports activities and outings to bring everyone together.

In the early 2000s, Zuki was asked to manage a multimillion-dollar project. “It was a 24-month project starting in 2002,” he recalls. “We completed it in 2004. That project was very successful. We had no major accidents and no major safety issues. We started on time and finished the project below its budget.”

Zuki and his team produced a high-quality and sellable product. He says it was a great project and he is proud that he was given a chance to become the project manager. “It became one of the example projects within the Group at that time,” he says.

Mr. Mohamad Zuki Bin Wan Abdullah of FGV Transport, photographed for The CEO Magazine in November 2019

Zuki’s career has brought with it several leadership lessons. Number one, he says, is creating a clear vision. “If you, as the CEO, do not set a clear vision or direction, forget about leadership. You are going nowhere,” he says. Only once the vision has been set, can the leader steer the ship and drive the company.

“If you, as the CEO, do not set a clear vision or direction, forget about leadership. You are going nowhere.”

Another lesson is that of teamwork. Zuki strongly believes that CEOs need people by their side. He uses team sports as an analogy: “The captain cannot win on his own,” Zuki points out.

Additionally, clear communication of the mission, values and results is also integral, as well as keeping the path of communication wide open. “I’ve always believed in open communication,” Zuki confirms.

“We talk through issues then try to get the best solution in the best manner.” Problems, issues and challenges are all unavoidable. It’s the way companies and leaders deal with them that makes a world of difference. In Zuki’s case, he prefers to talk through the problems honestly and to mutually resolve them.

“I believe we have to show support and empathy for each other. We work as one organisation – one team,” he says. “We share the same vision and the same objective. By supporting each other, we’ll create a healthy culture at FGV Transport Services.”

Zuki wants to share one other message with readers – a piece of advice given by his former boss about 15 years ago when he was feeling down. “He said to me, ‘Zuki, aim for the stars. If you miss them, at least you will land on the moon.’ I always use that approach. It’s what keeps me moving and pushing myself beyond my boundaries, limits and capabilities to achieve real greatness.” Zuki has and will continue to aim for the stars.

He says the vision for FGV Transport Services is to become the leader of the entire supply chain and logistics services providers in Malaysia by 2023. “That’s our destination,” he says. “We also want to grow our transportation services into warehousing management and cold chain, and venture into the ecommerce business. That’s a huge opportunity but comes with huge challenges.

“And later on, we are looking into expansion to cross-border transportations such as to Thailand and Singapore. Those are the plans within the next three to four years.”

When asked about the values he upholds, he says, “I embrace the company’s values, ‘Rise with PRIDE’, which stands for Partnership, Respect, Integrity, Dynamism and Enthusiasm.”

Words by Anastasia Prikhodko and photos by Rob Waller.
Taken from CEO Magazine