Richard Gan- The Business of Looking Good

Richard Gan, the Country General Manager for Malaysia & Singapore at Henkel Consumer Brands talks about using the best tools in the business.
Richard Gan Henkel

Richard Gan, Country General Manager, Henkel Malaysia and Singapore.

Spearheading the beauty care professional business for Henkel Malaysia and Singapore, Richard Gan is responsible for leading hair and beauty premium brands like Schwarzkopf and Shiseido Professional under its portfolio.

His decade-long diverse marketing experience in FMCG companies like Gillette and Shiseido have certainly stood him in good stead in steering Henkel’s professional beauty care business. But the ongoing pandemic has also presented a huge challenge for the entire beauty industry and Gan has led his team in dealing with the situation swiftly, thus minimising its impact for consumers.

Richard Gan Henkel

Richard Gan, Country General Manager, Henkel Malaysia and Singapore.

Here, he shares some Henkel initiatives helping people and businesses get through some difficult times.

1.Have you always been drawn to the business of beauty, hair and personal care brands?

Well, I actually began my career about a decade ago in this field, with the Gillette brand, to be precise. This first exposure certainly opened my eyes to the opportunities associated with the world of personal care for both men and women, and I’ve never looked back since! I personally believe that when it comes to this demanding retail segment, consumers expect products to perform. That time when consumers can just be satisfied with sheer promises are long gone. Products need to work and delight the consumers, first and foremost.

Keeping this close to my heart, I managed to expand my career into other associated fields and whet my appetite for professional discovery and new challenges by managing the interests of beauty and hair care brands like Schwarzkopf Professional, and Shiseido Professional. I suppose things have gone almost a full circle for me now that I am here at Henkel, as the company has signed an agreement to acquire the Asia-Pacific business of Shiseido Professional in the first quarter of 2022. On top of that, since I began my tenure at Henkel, we have strived to maintain an almost even gender parity of employees on the management team here as a conscious effort to show that we adhere to the unique needs of both genders with equal consideration always.

Behind the scenes from Richard Gan’s cover shoot

2.How has the pandemic changed the behaviour of your target audience then?

I must say that the operators of the segment’s businesses in this part of the world are a resilient and resourceful bunch! They know that their customer still need to take care of themselves so they were very open to quick and effective adaptations like employing digital know-how and associated tools. For instance, we worked closely with these business owners to create or use existing popular social media platforms, like Facebook Live, to broadcast their activities behind closed doors and product how-to videos, plus  personal care video tips for the benefit of clients stuck at home. It was absolutely crucial to maintain that important relationship between outlet and client… and this was how we did it! We also set up a flagship online store on Lazada Mall to enable everyone to continue buying products that they need for their own personal care regimes at home.

Richard Gan spearheads Henkel’s digital drive.

3.What have been the unique demands of local consumers that you have personally observed? How is the Malaysian market unique?

Well, this has definitely evolved as well because of the pandemic as everyone’s certainly more interested in quick working treatments. This is obviously because everyone’s a bit jittery about spending too much time in the company of others these days, right? So, they also looking for quick working care solutions that work in our climate. That’s why the products that we carry have also evolved to include personal and hair care product ranges that cater to this new evolution for quick working and effective treatments. Schwarzkopf Professional hair product range is a prime example with its quick-working solutions that work exceedingly well in our hot and humid conditions. We’ve also just launched a new scalp treatment range to combat hair loss that is associated with the high-stress environment of the corporate scene in this neck of the woods.

Richard Gan Henkel

Richard Gan, Country General Manager, Henkel Malaysia and Singapore.

4.Perhaps we can talk a bit about the recent acquisition of the Shiseido Professional division?

This was actually a strategic portfolio acquisition and it has helped the Henkel Group become a leading player in the Asia-Pacific dynamic growth region. We are now able to provide an attractive portfolio of premium hair products that will really enhance our presence in this region. We now also have an even stronger research and development capability that’s focussed specifically on Asian needs with our own innovation lab set up in Tokyo, Japan with this acquisition. Along with this also comes access to over 500 experienced care professionals throughout the region that will add their know-how to the value of our brand.

5.Henkel’s Revised Sustainability Strategy – can we talk a bit more about this, and how it affects consumers of the brand’s products here?

Sustainability has always been an important part of the brand’s thinking. We hope to become a fully-sustainable company by 2030 because of this strategy. For instance, we are already actively reducing plastic use and our packaging will be fully recyclable. We also want to be more climate positive in our day-to-day and also have all-around sustainable relationships with our partner hairdresser and stylist business.

View the full interview video

6.Could you give us an example of a key Henkel-developed digital product?

Of course, we’re excited about the launch of various apps and tools that we have created, especially Salon Lab. With this, our partner hairdressers may easily scan customers’ hair to visualise the inner strength of their crowning glory. Through this valuable insight, specific hair treatments can then be easily recommended to the customer.


7.Looking ahead to the new year, what are the things that you’re most excited about in relation to the products carried by Henkel?

One of our latest star products has got to be Igora hair colour as it comes in fully sustainable and recyclable packaging – from cap right to the tip of the packaging! We also carry numerous no-rinse hair conditioners that contribute towards saving up to 40% of water usage in salons and at home. Again the acquisition of Shiseido Professional is also beneficial towards our end goal of sustainability as the Japanese brand is also embarking on a similar green drive. So yes, 2023 will see us going full steam ahead with our drive towards sustainability, spearheaded by innovative products like these.

For more information on Henkel Please visit

Digital Director: Lira Jamaluddin

Photographer: Law Soo Phye

Videographer: Zakwan

, , , ,

Type keyword(s) and press Enter