Board of Advisors

CADS is guided by the tireless efforts and commitment from its Board of Advisors, which includes many prominent leaders from private and public sector businesses and organisations. They advise us on matters of strategic importance, helping to ensure CADS’ continued growth and success.

Sharala Axryd

Founder, The Center of Applied Data Science (CADS)
With a passion for data science and over 15 years of experience in the telecommunications field under her belt, Sharala Axryd is leading the data-driven business transformation and driving the benchmark for data science education in the ASEAN region. A thought leader in the data science space, she is a highly-sought after speaker for conferences with topics ranging from analytics to women in STEM.


Award-winner of the EY Woman Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Malaysia and among the Digerati 50 by Digital News Asia (DNA), she is the Founder of The Center of Applied Data Science (CADS), ASEAN’s first and only one stop platform and center of excellence for Data Science. She was part of the team that brought in The Data Incubator (an American-based data science center) to Malaysia, launched ASEAN’s first data science accelerator program in 2016 and spearheaded an initiative with the Harvard Business School in Boston to support Malaysia’s national agenda to be the hub for Big Data Analytics (BDA).


Prior to CADS, she worked with a diverse set of clients to deliver hands on training through several workshops and trainings on GPRS Performance Analysis and Optimisation. As the Founder and Managing Director of ULearn, Sharala and her team was successful with the Hands On Technology Training (HOTT), eventually evolving to be the first in the industry to develop an Automated Competency Gap Analysis (UrSkillsReporter).


Chari Tvt


Retired as Group Chief Financial Officer of Axiata, Chari TVT served as Chief Financial Officer of Celcom. During his time at Celcom, Chari was instrumental for many initiatives that contributed to excellent financial performance of Celcom, making it one of the most profitable companies in Malaysia.


Prior to joining Axiata Group, Chari was the Vice President, Sales, HP Financial Services Asia Pacific and Japan. Chari had an illustrious career in HP for over twenty years of which 10 years was in senior finance positions in various countries ( Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore) and 10 years heading Sales and Marketing for Asia Pac and a  large business unit with revenue of close to US1 B.


He holds an MBA from State University of New York at Buffalo.  He is also a Fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants UK (CIMA).  Chari is an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountant (ACA) and Institute of Cost and Works Accountants (ICWA) from India.


Dato’ Tharuma Rajah


Dato’ Tharuma Rajah currently serves as Regional Managing Director of ASEAN, India, Pacific and Africa Operations at Hay Group, Inc, previously serving as Managing Director of Korn Ferry Hay Group – Asia Pacific at Korn/Ferry International. He joined Hay Group in 1993 after a 12-year stint with National Semiconductor; a Silicon Valley based US Electronics Multinational.


Dato’ Tharuma helps organisations develop and implement talent and leadership transformation interventions. He specialises in human resource management, strategy formulation, compensation, training and development, and industrial relations. He has served as Executive Coach to many CEOs in Asia Pacific, and has advised clients across a wide spectrum of industries ranging from finance, telecommunications, oil and gas, manufacturing, fast moving consumer goods, and the public sector.


He speaks regularly at major international forums and is co-author of ‘The Indian CEO – A Portrait of Excellence’. He has led several seminal empirical research studies in Asia and the West which have provided new insights on the ethos and cross-cultural differences between Eastern and Western leadership styles in both public and private sectors.


Dato’ Tharuma is a member of the Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, United Kingdom. He serves as a Director of Finance Accreditation Agency. He holds a Bachelor of Law Degree from The University of London, has been called to the Bar of England and Wales.


Tan Kien Eng


Kien, with over three decades of experience, believes that to grow a brand it starts with the growth of his people. In 2004, as President and Executive Creative Director of Arc Worldwide Malaysia, Kien grew ARC WW to be the No.1 direct and marketing agency in Malaysia for three consecutive years in 2007, 2008 and 2009.


During his tenure as CEO of the Leo Burnett Group Malaysia the agency was ranked No. 1 by ADOI magazine in 2008 followed by recognition from the 4As as the agency of the year, as well as winning multiple Kancil awards over the years. The highlight, however, was when Leo Burnett Malaysia was voted the No.1 preferred agency by top marketers in Malaysia in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015 under his leadership, after sweeping the most number of Golds at the A+M Agency of the Year awards.


Kien claimed Campaign Asia-Pacific’s regional Gold for Southeast Asia Agency Head of the year 2012, also clinching the titles for Malaysia Digital Agency of the Year for 3 consecutive years, Malaysia Creative Agency of the Year 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, as well as Southeast Asia PR Agency of the Year 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017. Kien has won over 300 creative awards including 4 Cannes Gold. In addition, he was elected to be part of the judging panel in multiple Regional and International awards such as Cannes, D&AD and Adfest.


Aside from growing the creative reputation of Leo Burnett Group in Malaysia, Kien, as CEO of the company has led Leo Burnett Malaysia on exponential growth and business transformation to be the largest creative agency in Malaysia.


Earlier in March 2016, Publicis Groupe, the global communications enterprise united all group agency brands’ capabilities and expertise under Publicis One and appointed Kien as the Group CEO of Publicis One Malaysia. With this Kien, oversees brands under Publicis One Malaysia umbrella including Leo Burnett, Arc Worldwide, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi Arachnid, Alpha 245, Prodigious, Digitas, Starcom, Performics, Blue 449 and Spark Foundry.


Amongst his favourite pastime are studying lifestyle related design, observing people, history and enjoying nature.