It was my honor to catch up with Dato’ Dr Vaseehar Hassan at Starbucks Bangsar recently.
He has the very impressive record of starting as an assistant manager in one bank, and retiring as Chairman of another. He served on the boards of Bank Islam, Bank Utama and RHB Bank, and was the founding chairman of RHB Islamic Bank.
For 18 years, he was the MD/CEO of the Malaysian office of Dallah Albaraka Group, a Saudi conglomerate. He currently serves on the boards of Ingress Corp and Saturna Capital’s wholly owned subsidiary in Malaysia, as independent director.
I met Dato’ during the Bank Utama and RHB Bank merger in 2003. He represented Bank Utama in the merger negotiations. During the merger implementation, he was personally present at the team building workshops with the management team. He interacted with us, and listened. He kept a balanced view and together with Dato’ Abdullah Mat Noh, gave us confidence, and visible leadership. I continued in RHB Credit Cards, bringing it to Top 4 (balance outstanding) amongst the local banks.
Dato’ is a astute observer of human behavior. He studied change management in INSEAD and got interested in organization clinical psychology. He got his Masters from INSEAD & HEC France, and went on to graduate from Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam) with a PhD. He published his first thesis and book “The Malay Leadership Mystique – Building a psychoanalytic background to understand Malay leadership qualities in business and politics”.
When interviewed by Cynthia Ng, anchor and news editor at Astro Awani, and Awani Review, he said, “I thought that I should do something and help contribute in this area. So, at the age of sixty, I did a PhD on the topic and came up with a paper titled The Malay Leadership Mystique. This was triggered primarily by Tun Dr Mahathir’s speech at the Harvard Club of Malaysia in 2003.”
Now, at the age of 69, he working on his 2nd PhD and book.
Passion for Education.
Here is a man with a very successful career and highly respected in the industry. Yet, he continues to pursue learning, self development and personal education:
– B.Com (Accounting) from Loyola College
– MBA Finance Aston University
– Post Graduate Diploma (Ind Admin) Aston University
– Master of Science (Organization Psychology Bien) HEC Paris
– Executive Masters in Coaching (Organizational Psychology) INSEAD
– PhD (Leadership) VU University Amsterdam
He told me that his father had limited education opportunities during the Japanese occupation of Malaya in the 1940s. The family valued education, and his father reinforced the importance of continuous learning.
Dato’ Dr Vaseehar’s interest is learning about people, understanding their behavior and organization psychology. Whilst he is patient and speaks softly, he expresses his thoughts very clearly and strongly. He is a sought after executive coach & leadership consultant for very high profile personalities and companies.
Secret of Success.
This man retired as the Chairman of an investment bank. He continued to serve on various boards, speak at forums and provide valued consultations to people and companies. He is now preparing for his 2nd PhD and book.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, says success is not just about innate ability. It’s combined with a number of key factors such as opportunity, meaningful hard work (10,000 hours to gain mastery), and your cultural legacy. Random factors of chance, such as when and where you were born can influence the opportunities you have.
Dato’ has more than the 10,000 hours of mastery that Gladwell talks about. This has made him a legacy in the industry. He does not stop as this was his upbringing, and the pursuit is his deep passion. His work gave him opportunities, and the opportunities kept him working. His career & passion inspired many, and he planted the seed in each one, to take them to their own great achievements. Kudos Dato’. We are thankful and full of pride.
“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.” Robin Sharma
“When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.” Zig Ziglar
“No alarm clock needed. My passion wakes me.” Eric Thomas
“People with passion can change the world.” Steve Jobs
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.“ Robert Louis Stevenson