People Moves APAC: ByteDance, Vymo, Natixis, Cummins India
In a week where TikTok owner ByteDance hires its first Chief Financial Officer, signalling a possible IPO on the horizon, Business Chief APAC rounds up the key executive moves in the Asia Pacific region in the last week, March 19-25.
Shou Zi Chew is appointed Chief Financial Officer for Bytedance
In a Twitter announcement on March 24, Shou Zi Chew, who recently left Chinese electronic company Xiaomi, said he would be joining Tik Tok’s parent company Bytedance as Chief Financial Officer in his home country of Singapore. An Harvard Business School alumni, Shou Zi Chew served as financial chief at Xiaomi for the last six years, overseeing the company’s Hong Kong IPO in 2018, the first-ever IPO in Hong Kong stock exchange to realise dual-class shares. This is the first time ByteDance has had a CFO, signalling the company is moving towards an IPO. Chew has also worked at Goldman Sachs.
Dr Peng Wenlie appointed VP of China Natural Resources
Pharma industry executive veteran Dr Peng Wenlie has been appointed Vice President of China Natural Resources. Dr Wenlie boasts two decades of experience in the development of natural medicines and investment consulting and joins China Natural Resources from the Biomedicine Investment Department of Feishang Enterprise Group Company where he was director, where he led the selection of target companies for investment in the biomedical space. Bringing Wenlie on board as VP, where he will evaluate the company’s investment opportunities in the healthcare, biomedicine and related markets, “will immediately bolster our capacity and deep knowledge base” as the company further refines its strategy and prioritises potential opportunities to accelerate growth.
Shigeru Harasawa joins Vymo as Japan President
Veteran IT industry leader Shigeru Harasawa has been appointed as Japan President for sales acceleration platform Vymo. In a career spanning two decades, Harasawa has held leadership positions in startups such as Netezza, DataStax and most recently DataRobot, where he helped build the business in Japan from the ground up, as well as in large IT companies including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. With Japan a key strategic region for Vymo, Harasawa’s experience “will help us serve customers better and grow our presence in the region”, says Yamini Bhat, co-founder and CEO.
Sanjeev Kumar joins Natixis as head of S Asia corporate investment banking
Finance industry veteran Sanjeev Kumar is set to head up corporate investment banking South East and South Asia for Australia’s financial regulator Natixis. Kumar has 25 years in banking and finance across New York, Hong Kong and Singapore, and has worked for various foirms including Barclays Capital, Citigroup and RBS, with his most recent position with MUFG in Singapore as Asia Pacific ex-Japan head of sector coverage and acquisition finance. According to Bruno Le Saint, CEO, Asia Pacific, Corporate & Investment Banking, Kumar’s “experience from first class investment banks around the world, and wide-reaching client network position him well to lead our Singapore and South East Asia business and help us to strategically bring our franchise to the next level”.
Annapurna Vishwanathan joins Cummins India as CIO
Digital leadership expert Annapurna Vishwanathan has been appointed Chief Information Officer for Fortune 500 American multinational company Cummins India. She has 15 years of experience in managing technology, software development and digital transformation, with her most recent role heading digital function at Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages,and having spent a decade heading up digital business at GE. Passionate about exploring new-age technologies, digital capabilities, and mentoring young talent, in this new role, Vishwanathan will be responsible for IT and technologies which are supporting the business operations and other important functions.
Vinod Bhat appointed as CIO at Vistara
Operations veteran Vinod Bhat has been appointed as CIO of Indian airline Vistara. Bhat moves to the airline following a 28-year career at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), most recently as business head for UK and Europe operations, responsible for strategizing and driving business growth. Bringing to the table a wealth of knowledge in several areas that are critical for digital and business transformations, Bhat is being brought on to “enable advancements in our IT infrastructure” and also to “drive innovations that further elevate Vistara Experience for our customers and staff”, says Leslie Thng, CEO.
Could HR technology solve Hong Kong’s culture of overworking
It has long been common practice for employees across the world to work beyond their contracted hours, with staff feeling pressured to put the company’s needs before their own. But this can have a consequential impact on employees’ health, as long working hours create a poor work-life balance and demotivational working environment. This is particularly evident in workforces across Hong Kong, where employees are working an additional 24 hours during the week due to the rising issue of presenteeism. As a result, productivity in the region has dropped, and the health and wellbeing of workers have suffered.
Technological advancements have created a culture where staff feel obliged to be ‘always on’, and respond to calls and e-mails when they’re out of the office. The demand for increased working hours means that businesses are losing capacity through burnt-out staff who are struggling to care for their health while meeting the requirements of their work. Companies in Hong Kong that were once able to retain their staff through an attractive salary package must now consider expanding the perks they offer their workforce that can help support them in achieving a better work-life balance.
Although the UK still has progress to make, workplaces in Hong Kong can learn from businesses in the UK which have made considerable efforts to identify causes of stress at work and taken the steps to reduce these. UK employers are prioritising the wellbeing of their employees and through adopting policies such as flexible working, working from home and offering access to health and wellness tools, they are able to provide enhanced support to their team.
By incorporating a health engagement platform into a human resources strategy, HR leaders in Hong Kong can create a positive working environment and improve morale within their team, as well as encourage and incentivise staff to take action and introduce healthy habits into their daily routines. This will also assist in tackling a disengaged workforce, reducing absenteeism and boosting motivation – all factors that have been a problem in Hong Kong’s working culture.
Employees both in the UK and Asia should also take the steps to look after their own health so they don’t fall victim to burnout. Employers should encourage their staff to take regular breaks throughout their day, whether it’s to practise mindfulness techniques or simply take a walk. Stepping away from their desk and spending time outside will help to reduce stress and clear their mind.
Transforming attitudes to work in Asia is not a straightforward task and it will take time for age-old cultural and business practices to change. However, there are steps businesses can take to aid employees in living a happier, healthier lifestyle. Through implementing a wellness plan, businesses can support their employees in pursuing a healthy work-life balance and encourage them to improve their lifestyle both in and out of work. Not only will this create happier employees, but it will also lead to running a more profitable business as staff take control of their health.