Mar 10, 2021

People Moves APAC: DBS, HSBC, Heidrick, Standard Chartered

Kate Birch
4 min
There’s been some heavyweight manoeuvres in the world of banking and finance across Asia Pacific this week. Check out the latest executive transitions
There’s been some heavyweight manoeuvres in the world of banking and finance across Asia Pacific this week. Check out the latest executive transitions...

Tapping into growth across Asia Pacific, banks and asset management firms have been busy shuffling and appointing executive roles, from Japan to Malaysia to New Zealand Business 

From a number of new senior appointments at DBS Singapore and Malaysia, to a newly created role at Manulife, here’s Business Chief’s weekly round-up of the latest executive moves in the Asia Pacific region

Burcu Senel appointed CEO New Zealand for HSBC

HSBC veteran Burcu Senel has been appointed CEO New Zealand for the bank. Having spent more than 15 years with HSBC in the UK and Europe, where she was most recently global head of sustainable finance for global trade and receivables finance, Senel brings to the CEO role “strong leadership capabilities, deep knowledge and breadth of global experience working across the HSBC Group”, says Matthew Lobner, head of international and head of strategy and planning, Asia Pacific. She will be “pivotal in helping our clients in New Zealand achieve their growth ambitions including in the increasingly important area of sustainable finance”. 

Abdul Raof Latiff promoted to DBS Malaysia Country Head

Currently Group Head of Digital for Institutional Banking and Group Head of Global Transaction Services Product Management, Abdul Raof Latiff has been promoted to the role of Malaysia Country Head for DBS, effective from June 1. Joining DBS in 2017, Latiff has helped to develop and drive digital transformation of the bank’s institutional banking franchise. With 25 years of banking experience, including senior regional positions at global banks including Citigroup, JP Morgan and HSBC, Latiff’s appointment “reflects our commitment to grooming talent from within, and enables us to contihnue to provide more development opportunities to our senior team across the region”, says Tan Su Shan, DBS’ group head of institutional banking. 

Adrian Chen to head Wealth & Asset Management China at Manulife

Following 13 years in finance at UBS, Adrian Chen has been appointed Head of Wealth & Asset Management for China at Manulife Investment Management and will be based in Shanghai. Joining at a time of high-growth for the China market, this newly created role will focus on drawing growth synergies from Manulife’s existing footprint within China and will oversee the daily operations working closely with other teams to capitalise on opportunities in China’s pension and retail wealth market. 

Having spent 13 years at UBS prior to this, where he was GM of UBS Asset Management, responsible for wealth management business, wholesale distribution and business development, Chen brings a wealth of experience to help “accelerate our growth agenda in China by synergising our existing capabilities in retail, institutional and pension across both public and private asset classes”, says Michael Dommermuth, Head of Wealth and Asset Management, Asia, Manufife. 

Markus Wiesner steps up at Heidrick as Managing Partner for APAC 

Previously the managing Partner of Hedrick Consulting’s Global Growth Markets for the past four years, Markus Wiesner has now taken on the role of Heidrick Consulting’s regional Managing Partner for Asia Pacific and the Middle East region. With 20 years’ consulting experience, including nine years at Mercer, and as CEO of Aon Hewitt for MENA, advising C-suite executives and boards on strategic organisational and HR issues, Wiesner is well-placed to take on this challenging new role based between Dubai and Singapore. 

According to Andrew LeSueur, Global Managing Partner, Heidrick Consulting, “Markus has shown tremendous ability in growing client relationships and scaling our consulting business”. Wiesner is tasked with continuing to develop and implement the go-to-market strategy and operating model for Heidrick Consulting’s business in Asia Pacific, and ongoing responsibilities in the Middle East. 

Chandrima Das appointed Global Head, Managed Investments, Standard Chartered 

Banking veteran Chandrima Das is set to join Standard Chartered Bank Singapore as Global Head, Managed Investments. Das is tasked with building and growing the Funds and Discretionary Potfolio Mangement businesses. Das brings more than two decades of experience in the banking and asset management industry in Asia and Europe, having held leadership roles in the Bank of Singapore, ING, Prudential and most recently Grab, and also co-founding Bento, an investment advisor platform with robotic and human components that was acquired by Grab in February last year. 

She brings a “unique combination of experience in asset management and wealth tech which is especially pertinent today as we seek to meet increasingly sophisticated demand for wealth management advice at scale”, says Marc Van de Walle, Global Head, Wealth Management at Standard Chartered. 

Mark Militello becomes BNY Mellon’s Japan country executive

Currently Asia Pacific head of Markets and Clearance and Collateral Management for global investment firm BNY Mellon, based in Hong Kong, Mark Militello is set to make a return to Japan following an appointment as Japan Country executive for the firm. With more than 18 years of experience of living and working in Japan including with Shinsei Bank, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, holding senior positions such as COO and Co-Head of Corproate Banking, Militell has a “combined local regional nad global experience in the financial services industry” that will be “instrumental as we continue to execute on our growth priorities in Japan”, says Fangfang Chen, Asia Pacific Chair. 

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Jun 15, 2021

Could HR technology solve Hong Kong’s culture of overworking

Martin Blinder, CEO and Founde...
3 min
Martin Blinder discusses the average working hours in Asia and the consequential impact on employees' health and the resulting productivity of a business

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.


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