Key themes driving APAC senior executive leadership hiring trends - November 2019

Many of the drivers of executive level hiring that we have highlighted in previous updates have remained through the first ten months of the year. These include evolving business models impacting the way that enablement, infrastructure and control functions need to support their business partners; the re-evaluation of near and off-shore capability and a growing emphasis on the development of COEs; plus a noticeable shift in how traditional incumbents are considering financial technology opportunities and the corresponding need to attract leadership that can deliver broader capability and diversity of thought relevant to the digital economy.

Growth opportunities within the wider digital economy are driving demand at all levels and across a diverse range of specialist roles. Big data & analytics; robotics, artificial intelligence & engineering; cybersecurity; cloud; UX & UI design; mobile application development and digital marketing to name a few.

At the more senior end of the spectrum identifying talent who meet the technical requirements but also the desired behavioural traits – problem solving capability, high emotional intelligence, good written communication skills, commercial acumen and collaboration skills – can be challenging.

Furthermore, an increasing number of industry verticals – financial services, consumer goods, education, healthcare, transportation and IT services – are competing for the same talent and against an increasing number of ‘local champions’ who are enjoying rapid growth and offering competitive remuneration. To compete effectively it is important that organisation’s think about how they differentiate themselves. Being able to define and articulate what digital means for the organisation and creating a culture that nurtures digital talent and innovation is imperative particularly for companies and institutions who are perceived as traditional.

The challenge of hiring specialist talent is often further hampered by location strategy. Asia doesn’t have a single location acting as an epicentre for innovation and tech start-ups in the same way that Silicon Valley does. Instead a number of cities are vying to be regional centres of innovation from Bangalore to Bangkok, Ho Chi Min City to Jakarta, and Shanghai to Shenzhen. These rapidly growing individual digital ecosystems are receiving meaningful support from government and education institutions and becoming dedicated hubs for specialist talent. For multinational companies who are focused on collocating digital and technology delivery teams in established off-shore centres this can often prove a barrier to successful talent acquisition.

Thinking more broadly and being more open minded about where they find and locate talent will also be key in supporting digital talent acquisition and retention.

CEO Appointments

  • Kng Hwee Tin joins CapitaLand as Chief Executive Officer of Finance and Corporate Services, China. She was formerly Head of China at OCBC.
  • Andrew Wu joins Dun & Bradstreet as General Manager of Mainland China and Hong Kong. He joined from Dagong Global Credit Rating where he was the President / CEO.
  • Vicki Fan is appointed Chief Executive Officer Hong Kong of Mercer. She was previously a Partner of EY.
  • Steven Chang is promoted to be Chief Executive of Greater China of Munich Re. He was previously the Deputy CEO.
  • Tee Fong-Seng joins Pictet as CEO of PWM Asia. He was Chairman of EFG Bank’s Asia Advisory Board.
  • Alex Ng is appointed CEO of Hong Kong Branch and PWM North Asia of Pictet. He joins from Credit Suisse where he was Market Head for China.
  • Russell Higginbotham is appointed CEO Reinsurance Asia by Swiss Re. He was previously the CEO Reinsurance for EMEA.

Technology, Operations and Digital Executive Appointments

  • Ritesh Sarda is appointed Group Head of Digital Platforms Delivery at AIA. He was previously Chief Information Officer Hong Kong of Sun Life Financial.
  • Terence Chow is appointed Asia Chief Operating Officer, Wealth Management by Royal Bank of Canada. He was previously based in Toronto with the bank and was Head of Wealth Management Operations for Canada and Asia.
  • Veronique Cornu joins Capital Group as Head of Digital for Asia Pacific. He was previously Head of Digital Asia of MetLife.
  • Pam Sutherland is appointed APAC Regional Head of Financing and Collateral Operations at Morgan Stanley. She joined from BlackRock where she was the APAC Regional Head of Transaction Management.
  • Eduard Fabian joins Razer Inc. as Chief Technology Officer, FinTech. He was previously the Chief Information Officer Asia at Sun Life Financial.
  • Rene Keller joins Standard Chartered Bank as Chief Information Officer, Corporate, Commercial & Institutional Banking. He joins from Deutsche Bank and is replacing Bhupendra Warathe who has been appointed to a newly created role of Chief Technology Officer, Cloud Transformation.
  • Chad Liu joins Standard Chartered Venture as China FinTech Lead. He joins from PPF Group where he was the Director of Business Innovation Center.
  • Alex Wong joins Sun Life Financial as Hong Kong Chief Information Officer. He joined from AXA where he was the Head of Technology.
  • Thanh Vu Van joins Sun Life Financial as Vietnam Head of Technology. He joined from Vietcombank-Cardif Life Insurance.

Legal, Risk and Compliance Executive Appointments

  • Jeannette Chan joins Airwallex as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. She was previously with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as China Managing Partner.
  • Derek Gobel joined BitMEX as General Counsel. He joins from BNP Paribas where he was APAC General Counsel.
  • Tristan Strobol joins BlackRock as APAC Compliance Lead for Active Equities, Capital Markets and Equities Trading. He joins from UBS where he was APAC Head of Equities and Fixed Income Compliance Advisory, Compliance & Operational Risk Control (C&ORC).
  • Richard Blair joins Blackstone as APAC General Counsel. He joins from Freshfields where he was a Corporate Finance Partner.
  • Piyush Agrawal has relocated back to the US with Citigroup. He was formerly Chief Risk Officer of Asia Pacific.
  • Carmel Mulhern is joining Commonwealth Bank of Australia as General Counsel. She joins from Telstra where she was the Group General Counsel and Group Executive Legal & Corporate Affairs.
  • Scott Wharton is appointed Group Executive of Program Delivery at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. He was previously Executive General Manager of the bank.
  • Joseph Longo joins Herbert Smith Freehills in Perth as a Senior Advisor. More recently, Joe was the General Counsel, UK and EMEA for Deutsche Bank.
  • Kurt Lau is appointed Corporate Practice Partner of Hill Dickinson. He joins from Eversheds Sutherland where he was a consultant.
  • Li-Chian See joins Invesco as Regional Head of Compliance. She joins from Blackstone Group where she was APAC Head of Compliance.
  • Leo Vivot joins Morgan Stanley as Chief Risk Officer Private Wealth Management Asia. He joins from LGT Bank AG where he was Head of Credit, Private Banking Asia.
  • Errol Bong joins Noble Group as Head of Compliance. He joins from Liquidnet where he was APAC Head of Legal & Compliance.
  • Rachel To joins Nuveen as Regional Head of Compliance. She was previously the Director, APAC Legal & Compliance COO for BlackRock.
  • Dawne Siau joins PIMCO as APAC Head of Investment Compliance and North Asia Chief Compliance Officer. She was previously APAC Head of Compliance for DWS.
  • Debbie Man joins PingAn OneConnect Bank (Hong Kong) as Chief Compliance Officer. She joins from Credit Suisse where she was Hong Kong Head of Compliance Private Banking.
  • Kunal Gupta is appointed Partner in Delhi by Trilegal. He joins from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas where he was the Head of Investigations.

Finance Executive Appointments

  • Steve Chan joins ACRELEC as APAC CFO. He joins from Juwai.com where he was the CFO.
  • Alex Fok joins Cigna International as the Head of FP&A. He joins from AIA where he was Senior Finance Manager, Group Office.
  • Raminder Bhatia is appointed Global Head of Business Finance – GTB & CFO Corporate Bank APAC at Deutsche Bank. He was previously Finance Director, Head of Business Finance, GTB & Corporate Finance APAC.
  • Eric Chan joins Dun & Bradstreet as Greater China Finance Leader in Hong Kong. He was previously with Arkadin as Vice President Finance, APAC.
  • Mei Eng Chan is appointed Head of Finance of Etiqa Insurance Singapore. She was previously the Head of Risk Management.
  • Kim Fong Ngiam is appointed Asia Pacific Systems CFO at IBM. He was previously Asia Pacific Global Market Consolidation Manager.
  • Lyndon Oliver left AXA where he was the Chief Strategic Development Officer of Asia and rejoins MetLife as Executive Vice President and Treasurer, based in New York.
  • Willian Ng left ABB where he was the Country Managing Director and joins Schneider Electric as Chief Financial Officer of East Asia and Japan.
  • Ashish Shah joins SS&C Technologies as Director of Finance. He was previously Partner and CFO of Iron Pillar.
  • Chang Horng Foo is appointed Head of Finance by UOB. He was previously Group Financial Controller of AmBank Group.
  • Caroline Richmond joins Withersworldwide as Head of Finance, Asia Pacific. She joins from Norton Rose Fulbright where she was the Senior Finance Manager of South East Asia.
  • Peter Hirs is appointed CFO North America of Zurich Insurance. He was previously the CFO APAC.

Human Resources Executive Appointments

  • Jasmine Teo joins Amazon Web Services as Principal HR Business Partner, ASEAN.
  • Shalender Verma is appointed Head of HR Transformation APAC at BNP Paribas. He was previously APAC HRIS Manager.
  • Timothy Chia joins DBS Bank as Executive Director, HR Lead for Technology and Operations. He joins from O-I where he was Director, Asia Head of HR.
  • Kris Sasitharan is appointed Interim Group Head of HR by KBL Luxembourg. He joins from Standard Chartered Bank where he was the Global HR Business Partner, Group Finance and Group Treasury.
  • Rita Chan joins Link REIT as Head of HR. She was previously HR Director of Walmart Sourcing and Procurement.
  • Tony Falso is appointed Executive Director, Human Resources by MSCI Inc. He joins from Macquarie Group where he was the HR Director of Commodities and Global Markets, Asia.
  • Queenie Chan joins Now Health International as APAC Regional Head of HR. She joins from Gammon Construction Limited where she was HR Partner.
  • Leslie Glass rejoins Royal Bank of Canada as Senior Director, Head HR Singapore and Head ER, Asia Pacific (ex Malaysia). She was previously DBS Bank’s Executive Director, HR Team Lead for Treasury and Markets, Technology and Operations
  • Kate Hollis is appointed APAC Employee Relations Director by Uber.

Eamon Dick joins Leathwaite Hong Kong

Eamon has joined Leathwaite’s Hong Kong office where he will support clients in all industry sectors with a focus on technology, operations and digital leadership.

Prior to joining Leathwaite, Eamon spent 4 years at the Eximius Group as a Senior Consultant based in Hong Kong covering Asia Pacific, and working broadly across technology, operations, program / project managers, strategy and transformation. He was previously with Chandler Macleod Group covering financial technology.

Upon announcing the role, James Lawrence-Brown, Partner of Leathwaite Asia, noted:

“We are delighted to welcome Eamon to our growing Asia business. His appointment is a reflection of our commitment to further enhancing our technology, operations and digital capabilities in the region.”

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