When the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC) suddenly announced the departure of its CEO, Cheryl Yeoh, bucket-loads of rumours and speculation as to what had happened flowed out. While much can be discussed from all that, most asked one pertaining question: who would take over?

This had been on the minds of many startups and business circles for the last few months and there had been no hints as to who would take over the helm for MaGIC. Just as Q2 2016 kicked off, Digital News Asia (DNA) had uncovered that the government innovation regulator is locking in Ashran Ghazi as its new CEO.

Ashran – known for his efforts in the startup and entrepreneurial space, such as his dabbling with the internet-based TV industry through and having secured US$700,000 in funding for Joot Ventures – will see his appointment being ratified at the coming MaGIC board meeting that takes place tomorrow.


Once he takes the hot seat, the first task on hand is to widen the support services of MaGIC and make sure it is able to reach out to the entire Malaysian entrepreneurial ecosystem. In many ways, the new CEO has to expand on the work that Yeoh has put in place. This includes creating and launching non-tech programmes, looking beyond the usual pool of potential platforms that the ICT industry has to offer, and yet not ignore the tech sector completely as it is critical for MaGIC to continue its good relationship with these empowered players.

He also has to deal with maintaining a tight ship as Yeoh’s departure has, according to DNA, caused a disruptive uncertainty among the personnel in MaGIC. Not only does he need to downplay the growing concerns among his team, he also has to upskill them and expand their worldview beyond the ICT industry so they can create programmes for non-tech verticals.

If anything, Ashran has much to do once he comes on board with MaGIC and will be facing the challenging task of managing the expectations of multiple stakeholders. This includes industry players, fellow government-linked regulators, current and upcoming talents, multiple verticals, and those who are keen to see how MaGIC will move up from here on out.