Cisco has recruited from its own ranks to find a replacement for outgoing Malaysia managing director Albert Chai, naming ASEAN strategy and operations head Hana Raja as its new boss in the country.
Raja comes to the role with no fewer than 12 years' experience in strategic planning, business management and leadership roles across various sectors.
Based in Kuala Lumpur, Raja joined Cisco in 2019 from Bain & Company, where she facilitated strategic transformation for companies in oil and gas, industrial goods, retail and automotive sectors across ASEAN. Prior to Bain, she spent close to five years as a senior consultant for Schlumberger.
According to Cisco, Raja has played a key role in driving the company’s growth across the region in the years since she joined the vendor through a structured approach in strategy development, commercial excellence, performance improvement and behaviour change.
As Cisco Malaysia managing director, Raja will now focus on accelerating the digital transformations of Cisco customers across the country, working closely with the vendor’s partner ecosystem.
"With the country's increasing technological maturity, we have a unique opportunity to transform the way people, technology and partners connect, collaborate and innovate,” Raja said. “I look forward to leading Cisco onto this exciting journey of advancing Malaysia into a secured, trusted digital economy where businesses, investors and our communities can seize the full potential of technology and its benefits.”
Chai, who Raja is replacing, has headed up the US-based networking vendor’s Malaysian operations for close to eight years. Before taking the reins as managing director, he was sales director in the country, a role he stepped into in 2009 from Acision, where he was ASEAN vice president for almost three years.
"We want to thank Albert for his immeasurable contributions to our customers, partners and teams. Having been with us close to a decade, he leaves a great legacy, and we look forward to partnering with Hana to further build on that foundation,” said Naveen Menon, Cisco ASEAN president.
From Menon’s perspective, the leadership shuffle comes as Malaysia bears witness to a major shift in the way businesses operate with technology driving the change – a factor that represents no small amount of opportunity for Cisco.
“As a global leader in key sectors like networking, cyber security and collaboration, Cisco is best placed to partner with customers and help them succeed in their transformation,” Menon said. “Hana's appointment highlights our long-standing commitment to retaining top talent in the industry and getting the best leadership team on board.
“Alongside her experience in Cisco and the ASEAN market, she is set to bring a new wave of energy that strengthens our vision to advance Malaysia's digital economy vision," he added.
In January, Cisco appointed Dave West as president of Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China (APJC), replacing Miyuki Suzuki who was retiring from the technology giant.
With over 20 years of leadership experience at Cisco, West previously held the position of head of Japan, spearheading the Japan Country Digitisation initiative to build strategic alliances with local customers and partners to drive “sustained growth” in the market.
In July, eight months after unveiling a revamped, consolidated partner program, Cisco revealed further details of what its new line-up means for partners.
Having consolidated a dozen separate programs into four key partner roles — Integrator, Provider, Developer and Advisor — the networking vendor opened up about the new program’s recognition and rewards schemes.
According to Cisco at the time, all four roles are eligible to obtain gold status but will require further steps and differentiation exercises to achieve tier rises.