Profile: Dato’ Razlan Razali – CEO, Sepang International Circuit

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http://gpmalaysia.com/v1/2015/11/30/profile-dato-razlan-razali-ceo-sepang-international-circuit/">
Datuk Razlan’s Sepang team will run the KL City GP event.

Dato’ Razlan was exposed to the motorsports industry from a very young age and cultivated a passion for Superbikes and Supercars.

Sepang-International-Circuit-logo-W524H200Dato’ Razlan Razali, the Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit (SIC), was appointed on 8 October 2008. His vast knowledge accumulated in motorsports and in the business sphere made him an ideal candidate to spearhead SIC’s restructuring to redefine itself as a motorsport hub and a key entity in the development of motorsports in a country that brands itself as a leading contender in the sport in Southeast Asia.

Dato’ Razlan was exposed to the motorsports industry from a very young age and cultivated a passion for Superbikes and Supercars. His passion for motorsports eventually brought about the advent of Pineapple Motor Sports Pte Ltd. As Team Principal of the local outfit, Dato’ Razlan developed a challenging race team that proved itself in the Malaysian National Championship called the Malaysian Super Series by becoming champions in 2007 and 2008. He also started a motorcycle magazine called the Msportbike magazine in 2006 to ensure motorsport enthusiasts kept abreast with the activities in the local motorsports arena.

Under his leadership, SIC was awarded the coveted Facilities Improvement Plan Fund in 2010 (by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile – FIA), which granted the circuit a comprehensive best practice framework in motorsports safety as well as commercial and environmental sustainability. The plan led to a 360° review of the existing facilities and the utilisation of the 300 hectare property on which the circuit sits, that will yield commercial returns required for the next decade of the development of the circuit and motorsports in Malaysia. The results of the facility improvement programme include paddock chalets build in 2012 and the waterproofing and improvement of the roof facilities in 2014.

As CEO of SIC, Dato’ Razlan has been able to do much more to elevate motorsports in Malaysia. At his first press conference as CEO, two weeks before the 2008 Malaysian MotoGP, Dato’ Razlan committed to placing a Malaysian rider as a wild card in the 2009 Malaysian MotoGP. He realised his goal when he placed not only one but two Malaysian riders in the 125cc category of the MotoGP world championship, one of whom is a rider we know well today – ZulfahmiKhairuddin.

Dato' Razlan Razali, CEO for Sepang International Circuit with Mokhtar Ahmad and Mahathir Ahmad representing Drive M7 - the main sponsors for the Drive M7 SIC Racing Team, together with other sponsors and riders Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Jakub Kornfeil, with the full Drive M7 SIC Racing Team crew at its official launch and unveiling in Sepang today.

Dato’ Razlan Razali, CEO for Sepang International Circuit with Mokhtar Ahmad and Mahathir Ahmad representing Drive M7 – the main sponsors for the Drive M7 SIC Racing Team, together with other sponsors and riders Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Jakub Kornfeil, with the full Drive M7 SIC Racing Team crew at its official launch and unveiling in Sepang today.

It was a historic first step for SIC and marked the revival of Malaysian motorsports. Dato’ Razlan takes pride that SIC has placed a Malaysian rider in the World Championship from 2009 until 2015, and had Malaysian riders participating in the CEV or Junior World Championship from 2013 until 2015.Following good results and fan interest in 2010, SIC was able to kickstartlong term plans, including setting up its own racing team. Dato’ Razlan considers the success of Zulfahmi in 2012 some of his proudest moments as SIC CEO.Zulfahmi is the first Malaysian rider to achieve a pole position in a World Championship and the first Malaysian to get on a podium by coming second at MotoGP Malaysia in 2012 followed by a third placing in the last race of the season in Valencia the same year.

With Dato’ Razlan in the lead, SIC has also played a key role in supporting the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup (ATC), a feeder championship that features Asia’s brightest young talents in motorcycle racing, which was founded in 2014. SIC works with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia to support young Malaysian talents to compete in the championship against countries such as Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia. Every year, Malaysia sees 5 to 10 riders taking part in the ATC. The ATC is considered the best platform for young Malaysian talents to compete at a high level, and is the most relevant and proper development championship with real racing machines, professional technical support and credible partners. Locally, SIC also created the Ninja Cup to further develop young boys in the National Championship.

Sepang International Circuit’s (SIC) efforts to give former world champion Max Biaggi(left) from Italy a wild card in the World Superbike Championship 2015 (WSBK), here to attract fans failed to boost ticket sales. Photo Credit - Sepangcircuit.com

Sepang International Circuit’s (SIC) efforts to give former world champion Max Biaggi(left) from Italy a wild card in the World Superbike Championship 2015 (WSBK). Photo Credit – Sepangcircuit.com

To expose Malaysians to more world-class two-wheel motorsports, Dato’ Razlan also led SIC to bring in the FIM Superbike World Championship beginning 2014, and is looking to increase local interest by entering a Malaysian rider beginning 2016.

Also on the home front, Dato’ Razlan spearheadedthe formation of the SIC Racing team with the support of SIC’s Board of Directors. The team participated in the Moto3 category of the 2015 Motorcycle World Championship in its rookie year. The team has also performed commendably in its rookie year, achieving two podium finishes and several top 5 and top 10 placings.

Dato’ Razlan aims to support Malaysian participation in the world championship for as long SIC receives support from the Malaysian Government to host the Malaysian MotoGP. For the long term, he hopes that SIC will continue to emphasise and support Malaysian Motorsports development, which he feels is still underrated compared to other sporting endeavours that have united Malaysians from all walks of life behind the JalurGemilang.

Dato’ Razlan’s background in business came in good stead when he was able to turn around SIC’s financial standing – from making a loss when he first took over to consistent profitability in the following years. Under his guidance, SIC implemented various cost effective measures, introduced new initiatives, realigned and reintroduced product offerings and created new experiences to spectators at major events.

Having maxed out the current potential of the track over the past 7 years, with track usage hitting a 98% average every year, Dato’ Razlanrealisesthe need to unlock the potential of SIC’s land bank, as the current profit margin growth has only been incremental, further dampened by slower business among concert organisers who have used SIC as a venue. He is looking at long term plans to make Sepang the next hub in the Klang Valley, with theme parks, hotels, business premises, driving facilities and much more.

From left to right - Chen Tien Yue, Executive Director of Royal Selangor Marketing, Tan Sri Mokhzani Tun Mahathir, Chairman of Sepang International Circuit, YBhg. Datuk Seri Haji Ahmad Phesal bin Haji Talib, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Cik Liz Kamaruddin, PETRONAS Group Senior General Manager for Strategic Communications, Dato’ Razlan Razali, Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit, and En Rizan Ismail, Head of Brand Management, Group Strategic Communications Department PETRONAS unveiling the trophy for the 2015 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix™.

From left to right – Chen Tien Yue, Executive Director of Royal Selangor Marketing, Tan Sri Mokhzani Tun Mahathir, Chairman of Sepang International Circuit, YBhg. Datuk Seri Haji Ahmad Phesal bin Haji Talib, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Cik Liz Kamaruddin, PETRONAS Group Senior General Manager for Strategic Communications, Dato’ Razlan Razali, Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit, and En Rizan Ismail, Head of Brand Management, Group Strategic Communications Department PETRONAS unveiling the trophy for the 2015 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix™.

With Dato’ Razlan at the helm, SIC’s quality and efforts to be the best in the industry has been professionally recognised. In 2011, they received ISO 9001:2008 certification followed by OHSAS 18001:2007 certification in 2013 and ISO 9001:2008 certification in 2015. SIC has also been a winner in the MotoGP Category in 2011 and took second place in the Moto3 category in 2012 for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prixin awards from DORNA Sports. Other recognitions include the Best Grand Prix of 2012 award by the International Road Racing Team Association (IRTA) and a Certificate of Excellence for the circuit in 2012 fromTripAdvisor. SIC has also been recognised for its excellence in the Industry Class in Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) at the Selangor Excellence Business Awards 2014.

In 2015, SIC received more awards, including the Best Event Management Company Award for Excellence at the rAWr Awards 2015, for the F1 event, awarded by the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) and the Malaysia Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS).SIC was also a finalist in the Best Event category, with a nomination for MotoGP Malaysia. The company also received the Special Project Award at the Malaysian Construction Industry Excellence Awards, organised by the Construction Industry Development Board of Malaysia (CIDB) and the Bronze Award in the Corporate Branding category at the Malaysia PR Awards 2014/15.

From a human resource perspective, Dato’ Razlan has been instrumental in changing how the team at SIC works. He transformed the working style from a fairly governmental style of working to a fast-paced business and event centric style of working, based on his previous experience in organizing large-scale events.Nevertheless, he firmly believes that it is crucial for any new CEO or leader to gain the trust and support of the existing personnel before trying to implement any changes. Getting the buy-in and confidence that the changes will benefit everyone is important to achieve the dedication needed for the changes to have the desired impact. He also stresses the importance of taking care of the team’s needs and to ensure that all personnel are rewarded for their service, to further spur them to give their best at work. An admirer of people who achieve success despite taking a less conventional path, Dato’ Razlan brings his openness to new ideas to his leadership position.

On a personal level, Dato’ Razlan is proud to have completed his first IRONMAN challenge in Langkawi in November 2015. He is also glad to have successfully led a 9-person SIC team on an expedition to the Everest Base Camp (EBC) in 2014 with 100% success, with all participants managing to reach the EBC. He finds it really meaningful to see the team rallying together to make sure everyone reached the intended destination. Being a fitness enthusiast, Dato’ Razlan encourages all personnel to be active and to challenge their perceived physical limits.

Dato’ Razlan is also currently the CEO of the Malaysian Association of Motorsports, a post he has held since 2010. He is also the Chairman of PanpagesBerhad (formerly known as CBSA Berhad), listed in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) since 2012. He began his career at Price Waterhouse Coopers Malaysia in corporate finance and recovery upon his completion of a degree in Bachelor of Business with an accounting major at Edith Cowan University, Perth Australia in 1994. His experience than led him to Bintai Kinden Corporation Berhad also listed in the KLSE as the Vice President of Business Development and and subsequently appointed as an independent director from 1999 to 2010. He then became the Managing Director of Armah Properties Pte Ltd – a land investment company, before venturing into large scale event management via the establishment of Pineapple Concerts Pte Ltd.

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