Johan started his working career as a Marketing Executive with a British Trading House, Harper’s Gifillian Sdn. Bhd. based in Kuala Lumpur. After his management training and work exposure in KL, he was posted back to Kota Kinabalu in the trading division. After two years he joined Champion Motors/IDS as Area Manager of Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei selling well known brands like Audi, Land Rovers, Massey Ferguson Tractors and Bedford Trucks. Johan was sent by Inchcape to UK for his management training. He left to join Datuk Harris Salleh group of companies in the Berjaya era to do construction and development projects around Sabah and was Director of Gaya Shipping and Archipelago Shipping Sdn. Bhd, shipping pioneers in Sabah. He was then head hunted by Hanafiah Raslan and Mohamed (HRM) and recruited by Exxonmobil Borneo Ltd as area Manager based in Exxonmobil Malaysia’s office in KLCC. After two years stint in KL he was transferred back to Kota Kinabalu to head Exxonmobil interest in Borneo.
In all his career with the foreign companies, he was the first bumiputra executive from East Malaysia to be recruited in management positions. Johan left Exxonmobil to start his own business but was called by the state government to help start the oil and gas business for Sabah. He spent a 3 months stint as consultant with SEDCO and later was brought to Yayasan Sabah as Deputy Director to take charge of the education portfolio and to spearhead the development of oil and gas business in Sabah. He has also held several directorships.
Doctorate in Business Administration, from the University of South Australia. He also hold an MBA in Strategic Marketing from University of Hull, UK and
Diploma in Advanced Marketing from Bristol Polytechnic, UK, and is a life member and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Summary of Working Career:
- Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Development Studies (2018-2019)
- Deputy Director Yayasan Sabah (2004-2013)
- Exxonmobil Borneo Ltd, Area Manager East Malaysia ( 1987 -2003)
- Chief Project Coordinator Pembinaan Sabindo Sdn. Bhd. (1981 -1986)
- Area Manager Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, Champions Motors Sdn. Bhd (1982 - 1985)
- Senior Marketing Executive, Harper’s Trading Sdn. Bhd. ( 1979 – 1981)
Current employment and activities
Johan has started a technology company Dragonfly Robotix Sdn. Bhd, since leaving Yayasan Sabah. This company offers specialised services in aerial mapping and photography for clients like POIC, Sabah Ports Authority, international film companies and project developers.
Apart from the company, Johan is a well known writer and columnist at Free Malaysia Today (FMT), the Malaysian Insight and Daily Express, Kota Kinabalu.
Johan is also active in NGO work with G25 group and many NGOs in different fields and interest.
He is also continuing his research and writing in various topics to inform and share with the general public.