May 24, 2021

People Moves APAC: UBS, Flipkart, Aon, Heineken, Fullerton

Kate Birch
4 min
From India to South Korea, and from chief people officer to chief strategist, here are the C-suite executive transitions across Asia-Pacific this week

In a week where Lenovo makes a raft of new APAC leadership appointments to support its goal of expanding its offerings in the region, and Aon names two new members of its leadership team, we round up the latest executive moves across Asia Pacific.

Bain’s Dinkar Ayilavarapu joins Flipkart as head of strategy

Partner at consulting firm Bain & Company Dinkar Ayilavarapu is set to join the Walmart-owned startup Flipkart as its new head of strategy, just as the unicorn prepares for its IPO. With nearly two decades of industry and consulting experience, 14 years of which was spent at Bain & Company in India, New York and South Africa, Ayilavarapu most recently served as partner of Bain’s Results Delivery and Technology, Media and Telecommunications practices in APAC, and also authored the India Philanthropy Report. He also worked at both Accenture and ITC. In this new role, Ayilavarapu will “lead the corporate strategy team working closely with our business leaders to further strengthen our vision and OKR planning”, says Kalyan Kristnamurthy.


Swaminathan Subramanian named Fullerton India’s Chief People Officer

HR leader Swaminathan Subramanian is rejoining Fullerton India Credit Company following a three and a half-year hiatus and this time as the financial company’s Chief People Officer. With more than two decades of experience in HR leadership with specialism in consulting, mergers and acquisitions and HR governance, Subramanian has worked across Asia, Africa and the Middle East in HR leadership roles for big-name businesses including Accenture, Standard Chartered, Barclays, J.P. Morgan and Reliance Capital. Most recently he served as Group CHRO for Sterlite Power where he led the HR function for India and Brazil and also spent nearly five years previously with Fullerton as Executive VP. “We are confident that his leadership and people-focused policies will help us grow stronger than before,” says Shantanu Mitra, CEO, Fullerton India.

Netflix’s Shrey Khetarpal to lead client services for VaynerMedia APAC

Former PR lead at Netflix Singapore Shrey Khetarpal is jumping ship to VaynerMedia to head up its client services division for APAC, which includes growing new business and overseeing team development. A global marketing communications executive with a passion for storytelling, Khetarpal has nearly two decades of experience in integrated communications and leading large diverse teams, most recently serving as head of PR for Netflix in Singapore and the Philippines, and prior to that working in senior communications positions at Burson-Marstellar (Shanghai) and Ford Motor Company APAC

Erin Atan joins Heineken as APAC corporate affairs chief

Erin Atan has been named regional director of corporate affairs for Heineken Asia. With more than 25 years of experience under her belt, Atan had been head of corporate affairs for organisations including Prudential and Jardine Matheson, prior to which she was communications director for Rolls-Royce for APAC, the Middle East and Turkey for seven years and Corporate Affairs Director for BMW Group for two years. In this new role, Atan will oversee sustainability, communications and government affairs, focusing in particular on bringing Heineken’s EverGreen strategy to life.

Pothen Jacob joins Aon to lead Compensation practice for India

Former Diageo and Dell executive, Pothen Jacob is set to lead the Executive Compensation & Governance Practice for India for Aon. Jacob has more than 25 years of expertise holding leadership positions covering India and APAC and at organisations including Mercer, Dell, Towers Watson, Sapient and Diageo. At Dell, Jacob was head of rewards, HR information management and operation for India and the Philippines, while at Diageo, he led organisation effectiveness and transformation agenda. In consulting, he headed Willis Tower Watson’s Human Capital Business in India and was industry leader for tech and office head at Mercer HR Consulting.


Chang Sei-yoon to head operations UBS South Korea

Seasoned financier Chang Sei-yoon has been appointed head for UBS operations in South Korea. With more than 25 years of expertise in Korean financial markets, most recently serving as head of the global markets division at UBS Securities Seoul, Chang “has contributed greatly to UBS’s growth in Korea and has a deep understanding of the Korean market and clients”, says Edmund Koh, president of UBS Asia Pacific. He is tasked with continuing to expand the bank’s relationships with Korean corporate and institutional clients.






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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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