Key themes driving APAC senior executive leadership hiring trends - February 2020

Although the rise in political and social unrest, in the case of Hong Kong leading to prolonged protests, has not been unique to Asia – 2019 witnessed demonstrations across Europe, the Middle East and South America – the resulting uncertainty, disruption and negative impact on regional economies is all combining to put increased pressure on leadership teams. Similarly the current Covid-19 outbreak is significantly testing business continuity plans. Irrespective of industry sector, crisis management and rigorous contingency planning is firmly at the top of the agenda.

While the immediate priority of regional management teams is to minimise disruption to clients; ensure the resiliency and effectiveness of remote working policies and infrastructure; and safeguard the well-being of employees, increasingly our discussions are focusing on a perceived lack of expertise that is leaving organisations vulnerable to unpredictable challenges.

In previous editions of Leadership Digest we have highlighted how enablement roles – notably the Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Risk Officer roles – have evolved and expanded. Most companies are well on the way to shifting enablement and infrastructure leadership to be more strategic, commercial and proactive. We would argue that in companies where that is the case, the focus is less on capability gaps and more on cultural and mindset gaps.

A cross-functional mentality, ability to be truly collaborative and a comfort level with ambiguity are increasingly important. Leadership teams must be seen to be acting in unison, delivering consistency in messaging, and coming together to tackle challenges which impact multiple functions simultaneously and quickly. With an increased focus on people the CHRO plays a critical role in setting the tone as to how the leadership team, and the organisation as a whole, reacts to external events and is rightly earning a seat at the top table.
On going external challenges are placing greater demand, as well as increased scrutiny, on other corporate functions. Where skill gaps exist we are seeing increased appetite to upgrade. Notably we are seeing a spike in demand for talent in Corporate Communications and Company Secretary functions.

Although we would expect to see physical, technology, legal and compliance risks being managed through traditional functional leadership structures, in some corporate environments the creation of a new role – Chief Security Officer – that incorporates management of all risk assessment is being considered. Not only does this provide combined leadership internally but also a single point of contact for external stakeholder engagement. It remains to be seen whether this moves from discussion to action.

Given on-going events short-term hiring activity is slowing and is likely to remain muted through to the second quarter. Longer dated growth opportunities remain and we would anticipate that general hiring sentiment and focus will remain consistent with earlier editions of Leadership Digest including a focus on near and off-shore capability / COEs, and digital & analytics talent.

2020 looks set to be a challenging year. In the coming weeks and months, to ensure that businesses adapt and continue to thrive, enablement, infrastructure and control leadership will continue to play an increasingly central and critical role. Executives who can deliver increased leadership, collaboration and innovation internally are set to be in demand.

CEO Appointments

  • Steven Barnett is appointed Regional President Asia Pacific of AIG, he was previously Regional CEO of Middle East and Africa.
  • Simon Hu becomes CEO at Ant Financial. He joined Alibaba Group in 2005 and previously served as President, Ant Financial.
  • Nitin Singh is appointed Managing Director and CEO of Avendus Wealth Management. He joins from Standard Chartered Bank where he was Managing Director and Head of Wealth Management.
  • Jon Longmore is appointed as President Director, General Insurance Business of Chubb Indonesia. He is currently the Head of Digital for Asia Pacific.
  • John Kenny is appointed APAC CEO of Colliers International. He was previously CEO of Australia and New Zealand.
  • Mahesh Palashikar is appointed President and CEO of GE South Asia. He succeeds Vishal Wanchoo who retires.
  • Ravi Vishwanath joins HDFC ERGO General Insurance as President, A & H. He joins from Reliance Health Insurance where he was Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer.
  • Damien Green is appointed CEO for Hong Kong and Macau of Manulife. He was previously Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer for Asia.
  • Will Ho is appointed CEO of MS Amlin Asia Pacific, he was previously Head of Reinsurance, Asia.
  • James Park is appointed Singapore and South East Asia CEO of Munich Re. He was previously Regional Head of Property Treaty Underwriting.
  • Helen Wong joins OCBC as Deputy President and Head of Global Wholesale Banking. She was formerly HSBC Greater China Chief Executive Officer.
  • Matt Long joins OSL as Head of Distribution and Prime Brokerage. He was formerly Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer of Saxo Bank.
  • Kenneth Ng joins PCCW Solutions as South East Asia Head of Public Sector and Travel. He was formerly Senior Client Success & Service Delivery Manager, APJ of HP Inc
  • Dennis Tan joins Prudential Singapore as the Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Wilfred Blackburn. He joined from OCBC Bank where he was Head of Consumer Financial Services.
  • Belinda Au is appointed Singapore CEO of Sun Life and relocates to Singapore. She was previously General Manager of Distribution and Marketing Asia. Steven Fong re-joins Sun Life as General Manager of Distribution Channels Asia.

Technology, Operations and Digital Executive Appointments

  • William Man joins AXA as Chief Operating Officer of AXA China Region Insurance Company Ltd. He was previously CIO and COO of Manulife (International) Ltd.
  • Celine Le Cotonnec is appointed Chief Data and Innovation Officer of Bank of Singapore. She joins from AXA Insurance Singapore.
  • Erlick Da Cunha joins CHANEL as Asia Pacific Head of Infrastructure and Operations, Technology and Digital Services. He joins from HSBC where he was the Head of IT Infrastructure, Global Insurance.
  • Sajish Pillai is appointed COO, India of DBS, he was previously Head of Strategy and Delivery, Digital Consumer Finance (Algorithmic Lending).
  • Gil Perez is appointed Managing Director and Head of Strategy & Innovation of Deutsche Bank. He was previously Head of Digital Customer Initiatives at SAP.
  • Simon Long is appointed Southeast Asia Digital and Technology Director of CBRE. He was APAC Principal Consultant for Technology and Innovation of PTS Consulting before joining.
  • Venkat Balu relocated to Sydney to join Commonwealth Bank of Australia as General Manager Financial Crime Technology. He was previously Global Head of AML Transaction Monitoring for JPMorgan Chase.
  • Dilipkumar Khandelwal joins Deutsche Bank as Managing Director and Head of Technology Centres, based in Pune. He will also become Head of Technology, Data & Innovation for Asia Pacific and Chief Information Officer for Human Resources, Legal & Communications. He joined from SAP where he was President of SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, SAP SE.
  • Wen-Tao Chan is appointed Head of UX Design Studio at Fidelity International, based in Dalian. He was previously Associate Partner, Executive Creative Designer, IBMix China.
  • Kesava Guttikonda is appointed APAC Chief Technology Officer, Fiserv. He was formerly Director, Information Technology Officer APAC at PayPal.
  • James Young is appointed APAC Technology Head at JPMorgan. He was previously Head of Digital Technology.
  • Fiona Carney is promoted Chief Marketing & Operations Officer APAC at Microsoft, she was previously their APAC & Japan Business Operations Senior Director.
  • Arvind Mathur is appointed Chief Information Officer AMEA of Kellogg Company. He was previously Chief Information & Digital Officer at Prudential Assurance Company Singapore.
  • Iain Briggs joins Immediate Pte Ltd as an Advisor. He was previously the Asia Pacific Chief Information Officer at AIG Asia Pacific Holdings Pte.
  • Carl Chan joins Orix Asia Limited as Chief Technology Officer. He joins from Haitong International Securities Group Limited where he was the CTO.
  • Adrian Williamson joins SAP as COO, APJ & Greater China for T&E. He joined from ERIBancaire where he was Managing Director, APAC.

Finance Executive Appointments

  • Nikhil Joshi joins Dltledgers as CFO & COO. He joined from Barclays Investment Bank where he was Director, APAC Business Manager.
  • Francis Woo is appointed CFO at Eastspring Investments. He was previously a Senior at TPG.
  • Richard Aston joins Equis as Group Controller, he joined from Marina Bay Holdings where he was Head of Finance.
  • Rob Mirfin is appointed Head of Audit, Greater China at HSBC. He had previously been Managing Director, Chief Auditor APAC at Deutsche Bank.
  • Edwin Morris joins Jebsen Group as Group CFO based in Hong Kong. He was previously CFO at Ping An Good Doctor in Shanghai.
  • Khoo Hong Yi joins Julius Baer as Director, Group Internal Audit. He was previously VP, Group Audit, Consumer Banking Group at DBS.
  • Henry He is appointed CFO of Kingsoft Cloud. He joined from Goldman Sachs where he was Executive Director, M&A Group/ TMT Group.
  • Aaron Wong joins PayPal as CEO & VP, Global Entity Management & Oversight. He joined from GE where he was CFO, ASEAN.
  • Andrew Reynolds joins Sequoia Capital as Global Chief Financial Officer. He was most recently CFO and COO Asia Pacific for Blackrock.
  • Alex Lee is appointed CFO of Tricor Group. He joined from DFS where he was Director, Global Finance, Accounting and Reporting.
  • Ye-Lin Lim joins VMware as Director, Internal Audit APAC and Japan. He joined from Juniper Networks where he was Director of Compliance, APAC.

Legal, Risk and Compliance Executive Appointments

  • Wily Wan joins Facebook as Associate General Counsel, Mobile & Connectivity. She joins from Twitter where she was Associate General Counsel & Legal Director for Japan/ APAC.
  • May Li joins Fidelity International as Asia Head of Compliance. She was previously Head of Risk and Compliance Asia at First State Investments.
  • Timothy Yung joins First Abu Dhabi Bank in Hong Kong as SVP, Head of Compliance. He joined from VTB Capital where he was Head of Compliance.
  • Renu Jha is promoted VP, Chief Compliance Offer, APAC at Fresenius Medical Care, she was previously their Senior Director, Compliance Officer, APAC.
  • Peter Lau is appointed CRO of FTLife,
  • Tony Nga is appointed CRO, Head of Governance, Risk & Compliance of Grab, he was previously VP, Head of Customer Experience.
  • Chee Leong Yeo is promoted Chief Risk Officer of Hang Seng Bank, he was previously Head of Wholesale Credit & Market Risk.
  • Sean Ward joins Jardine Matheson Group as Group Company Secretary. He relocated to Hong Kong from Sydney and was formerly Group Company Secretary and Head of Risk of Mirvac Group. Christine Chan joins as a Senior Company Secretary from Standard Chartered Bank.
  • Laurence Laumonier Dubois joins Johnson & Johnson as Global Privacy Director, APAC. She joined from GE Energy Connections where she was General Counsel, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.
  • Fiona Carney is promoted Chief Marketing & Operations Officer APAC at Microsoft, she was previously their APAC & Japan Business Operations Senior Director.
  • Angela Choi joined NatWest Markets as Head of Risk NWM Hong Kong and Head of North Asia Credit Risk. She joins from Deutsche Bank where she was the Chief Risk Officer for DBAG HK and Head of Credit Risk Management.
  • Jay Buckley is promoted SVP, Chief Counsel, APAC at PepsiCo, he was previously VP, Chief Legal Counsel, APAC.
  • Rachel Barger is promoted President and Managing Director of Southeast Asia at SAP, she was previously COO, APAC and Japan.
  • Martin Fortier is appointed as General Manager of Financial Affairs at Sun Life. He was formerly Chief Risk Officer of Sun Life Malaysia.
  • Julie Winkler joins Zurich as Regional Head of Compliance, APAC. She joined from FWD Insurance where she was Group Chief Compliance Officer.

Human Resources Executive Appointments

  • Shaun Ee joins Asia Pacific Breweries as HR Director. She joined from Commonwealth Capital Group where she was Group HR Director.
  • Bruce Larson is appointed Chief Human Resources Officer of The Carlyle Group in Washington, he joins from Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong where he was Managing Director, Head of Human Capital, APAC.
  • Karina Ki is promoted VP, Regional HR, APAC at Fresenius Kabi, she was previously Senior Director, HR.
  • Ingo Laubender is appointed Head of People of foodpanda. He joined from Grab where he was Head of People Strategy.
  • Stephen Gavin is appointed Head of Employee Relations at JPMorgan, he joined from BNY Mellon where he was Head of Employee Relations, Asia.
  • Aparna Kumar is appointed Asia Head of HR, Marsh. She joins from Monsanto Company.
  • Lee U-jin joins NCR as VP, Head of HR, APAC and Japan. He joined from Sibelco where he was Head of HR, Asia.
  • Chandrani Chakraborty, Head of HR Asia at QBE, has now taken on a dual role as Group Head of Capability & Learning Strategies.
  • Shweta Mishra joins Rackspace as APAC and Japan HR Director, she joins from Veritas Technologies where she was South East Asia HR Head.
  • Elaine Liu is promoted Group Associate Director and Chief HR Officer at Sino Group, she was previously General Manager, HR.
  • Karen Yao is appointed General Manager, Head of HR, APAC of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, she joined from KA-GE Consultancy where she was Managing Partner.
  • Linda Hui is appointed Head of HR Business Partner, Asia of Walmart Global Sourcing. She joined from FOX Networks Group Asia where she was SVP, HR.

Contact us!

Click on the button below to contact your local Leathwaite office to discuss your executive search or senior leadership requirements: 

Click here to contact Leathwaite

When did you last benchmark your compensation package?

The Pay Index – a free to use crowd-sourced compensation tool just for senior executives.

With pay equity legislation being implemented across North America, such as New York’s Intro 1253-A and California’s AB-168, the need for crowd-sourced databases, such as The Pay Index, are essential in helping individuals and companies understand executive compensation.

It takes less than 5 minutes to anonymously share a number of data points and then compare your compensation against the local and global market through several unique interactive reports.

The Pay Index also includes a cost of living comparison tool so you can easily see what you need to earn in another city for the same standard of living.

Visit The Pay Index now to ensure you know your current market worth.