For over a decade, Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican has been the face of Petronas, the man they bid farewell yesterday.

The mood was mixed with a tinge of sadness as he walked to the foyer of the Petronas Twin Towers, shaking hands with the staff and well-wishers. For Hassan Marican, who has helmed the corporation since 1995, his term as president and chief executive officer (CEO) ended yesterday.

It was obvious that he was fighting back the tears as he smiled at the staff, however, he told the staff in their thousands who was waiting at four separate spots on their own free will to wish Hassan farewell, “I am okay”.

Many were disappointed at him leaving Petronas and had wanted him to have a proper farewell. They loved him since Hassan was proud of his staff and always reminded them they were doing a national service. Besides, He would always relate to the press how his men had struggled under the hot sun in the desert and drilled the deepest ocean.

Hassan was appointed president and CEO in 1995 and had assumed the post of acting chairman with the passing of Azizan in 2004 at age 69. Hassan was said to be visibly upset with by the latter’s demise. He has proven his mettle and the baton is now passed to yet another able man, Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas, who assumes the president and CEO posts from today on.

Shamsul, who was MISC Bhd’s managing director prior to his retirement last year, has been with the company since 1974.

He has vast experience in the petroleum industry, having served in several senior positions including vice president of oil business, vice president petrochemicals, vice president exploration (upstream) and vice-president of maritime and logistics.

Moreover, the staff welcomed the new boss who was said to be another charismatic leader.