The development of a moral compass

Increasingly, international companies based in countries that score low in global rankings, on aspects such as integrity, are investing in development programmes to ensure that future leaders in the company also remain “good people.” More and more, these basic principles are seen as ‘licence to play’ in various sectors of the economy.

“We want to be known for rolemodeling squeaky clean businesses and investing in future CEO’s character building.”

Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, Ex Group CEO Axiata

In a global economy with many large, international companies, access to the global market is crucial. This also applies to Axiata, a telecom and digital provider in Asia with 350 million customers. Guided by their higher purpose of ‘Advancing Asia,’ Axiata stands for digital inclusiveness for all communities by providing digital and connectivity solutions. With operations in 11 countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Pakistan, they aim to be a role model for other organizations by implementing their core values of Uncompromising Integrity and Exceptional Performance in everything they do. Unfortunately, the countries in which they operate do not score high in the global ranking of integrity. In order to promote a culture of uncompromising integrity, it is important that well-educated, young leaders from international business schools are able to hold their own in a country culture where corruption is a major challenge. That is why Axiata, with their ‘Axiata Young Talent Programme’ (AYTP), wants to contribute to ethically successful leaders for the future.  


The aim of AYTP is to discover, nurture and develop young talents in Asia into future CEOs. We developed interventions and conducted workshops for the participants to make them more aware and capable in emotional intelligence, attitude and character development with Uncompromising Integrity as a central theme. Undeniably, a Brighter Future for young leaders. This group of talents already excel in the context of business administration, finance and strategic management. Through digital serious games and development programmes, we help super-talented people to also be super-ethical people. In this way, as future CEOs, they can think not only of money and short-term gain, but also of honesty, decency and morality when making difficult considerations and choices. 


The fact that Axiata introduced the programme was already impactful, as it showed the company’s commitment to a fair and honourable course. It affected the sense of pride. It also ensured a robust, strong reputation for Axiata to the outside world. Systemic change in organizations and societies obviously require more, but this step has been nicely taken as an example for many others.