PREVIOUS POSITION: CIO of Sunway Group.
YEARS IN INDUSTRY: 28. EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science & Physics from Campbell University (USA) at Tunku Abdul Rahman College.
FAVOURITE QUOTATION: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.
FAVOURITE PASTIME: Reading, watching TV and playing golf.
Looking back, what do you consider the defining moments in your first 100 days in this position?
As the appointed Group CEO of Hitachi Sunway Information Systems it was crucial to be seen as impartial, neutral and fair to both Hitachi and Sunway shareholders, while ensuring a successful and smooth post-merger integration process. Besides focusing on the strategic objectives of this JV and building a high-performance organisation, it was important to establish a new working culture that integrated both the Malaysian and Japanese cultures into the company.
What do you regard as the crucial factors for you to stay on top of your game?
Success derived from passion (Loving what you do) and perseverance (I will not give up). It simply means staying focus on a long-term goal, pushing beyond your limits and rising up in the face of challenges to ultimately achieve your goals. And, limits are virtually non-existent. Besides that, you need active listening skills and commitment to excellence.
What do you foresee are gamechanging challenges facing your industry?
As the competition for talent continues to rise and business models are disrupted by technology and sociodemographic shifts, organisations must go above and beyond to attract and retain their best employees. Innovative talent management and sourcing are required to resolve talent competition and shortages, which could hinder an organisation’s growth. Additionally, having a winning products and services combo that can help customers succeed is essential.
Single out a leader in the corporate world you wish to emulate.
I prefer to choose a leader I have personally witnessed. He is Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, AO, Founder and Chairman of Sunway Group. A visionary man, whose personal motto is ‘I aspire to inspire before I expire’, has successfully turned a wasteland to wonderland. He is a a man with integrity and doing business with a heart, giving back to society through sustainable quality education via the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation.
Why do you think CEOs need a dose of James Bond in their lives?
Bond means business. A dashing and charismatic spy, who is analytical and fearless. But this is not enough without having a quartermaster to provide the best gadgets or weapons to aid his adventures. The same applies to CEOs — you can have the best character or skills, but you also require supporting technologies, tools and people to back you. It is all about a winning combination!
As Group CEO, what excites and worries you most?
What excites me the most also worries me the most. The excitement of leveraging on two big brands, Hitachi and Sunway, will open up new markets and opportunities for the company. But, at the same time, I need to ensure that all the company actions continue to uphold the essence of both brands.
What are your strategies to make your company the leading and dominant player in your industry?
To survive in an industry that is constantly changing, we have to know and understand our customers, deliver what they want and help them succeed. This is backed by a strong and experienced team who shares a common company core values (Harmony, Excellence, Integrity) when driving growth, making product choices, and integrating new processes and capabilities into existing operations.
Share with us some impactful advice given to you by your mentors that still inspires you today.
I have been blessed with many mentors who selflessly shared their wisdom, thoughts, ideas and experiences. They are like beacons, providing guiding lights to me. My mentors taught me that success comes from hard work – there are no shortcuts; continuous learning – be curious and proactive; and perseverance – to continue trying, even if it is difficult.
TEXT MICHAEL OH
PHOTOGRAPHY ROBIN LIEW
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