Abitur (A levels), Bundesreal Gymnasium Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria, 1984; Business Administration and Economics, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria, 1990; General Management Program, IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2004, London Business School 2013/2014 Leadership Program
Professional association memberships
Council member of Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM); Board member of the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI); Long-term board member of the European Chamber of Commerce, Taiwan
I come from four generations of family businesses in tourism, so, from young I lived and learnt the business. During my study years, I undertook different internships to get a good insight of the different industries and corporations. Nestlé was my first job after graduation and I joined as management trainee. I started in sales, and moved my way up the ladder over the years, and finally got my first opportunity as Managing Director of Nestlé Taiwan to prove my general management skills. I always tried to learn the business in all aspects, and was never shy to go and learn from the ‘ground floor’. That’s where you learn the most.
The turning point
There is no one single event which was the turning point for me. I had many opportunities and challenges in my career with Nestlé, and I embraced them head-onto move further. It is important to enjoy what you do and be committed to give it your all and focus on it. You must be willing to go the extra mile!
During my time as Managing Director in Sri Lanka, the country had come out of 27 years of war and our local dairy business was active and strong – we were income providers for thousands of Sri Lankan farmers. Then suddenly, we had to deal with the massive currency depreciation and other destructive challenges.We made bold and risky decisions as a company, but we managed to secure the livelihood of 20,000 dairy farmers and their income. This was incredibly gratifying.
Advice for graduates
- Candidates should have the right attitude and be dynamic, energetic as well as have a good educational background, and most importantly: common sense.
- Cultivate strong communication skills and be persuasive in presenting ideas. Ensure fluency in English and Bahasa Malaysia.
- Have an insatiable desire to learn more with high flexibility and adaptability to new cultures, environments and challenges.
- Have passion! Unless you can feel it, you can’t get it!
Key skills for future leaders
- Transformational leadership skills; one that inspires enthusiasm and passion in the team.
- Values and principles of openness, honesty, integrity, trust, respect, commitment and involvement.
- Consistent actions and messages; unless you walk the talk, the team will not trust you.
- Very solid knowledge of business that you are responsible for, and excellent business acumen or business IQ.
- Develop passionate and committed team members.
- Attracting and retaining the right talent.