On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns and Ben Gathercole speak with Alvin Hew about the leadership and cultural differences between Proctor & Gamble and L’Oreal; L’Oreal’s Confrontation Room; disrupting L’Oreal’s Asian approach; and Being bestowed the award of Chevalier de l’Ordre Nationale du Merite by French President Jacques Chirac. We also discuss his roles as a Board Director, why he has taken up running and the purpose and vision for Southgate Ventures Ltd throughout ASIA.
Alvin Hew is an experienced CEO and Board Director who has been instrumental in positioning products and leading teams for some of the world’s leading global companies.
Based in Singapore, he is currently the Group Managing Director of
Southgate Ventures Pte Ltd, which is an Education platform company
headquartered in Singapore with 11 international schools in Indonesia, Korea
and India under the name of SIS Group of Schools and Singapore Global
His 30+ years of corporate experience covers private equity at The
Abraaj Group; financial advisory at H2O Capital; commercial banking at TD Bank
and investment banking at Lancaster Financial Inc. in Canada; business
development and marketing at P&G in Switzerland, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
and Australia; and top management experience at L’Oreal where he was the
Managing Director of its companies in Malaysia and Taiwan.
He currently serves on the board of Maxis Berhad (Malaysia’s No. 1
mobile telco), Petronas Dagangan Berhad (Malaysia’s national oil and gas
company) and on the Global Advisory Council of Queen’s University Smith School
of Business in Canada and served on the boards of the European Chamber of
Commerce in Taipei and Taipei American School. He is also the President of the
Queen’s University Alumni Branch in Singapore.
He holds undergraduate degrees from Queen’s University, Canada and an
MBA from INSEAD France. He is certified with the Canadian Securities Institute
and has attended executive programs held at IMD, Stanford, USC and UC San
Alvin talks about:
his teenage years away from his Malaysian home in Winnipeg, Canada
- The decision of studying economics and finance at
Queens University Smith School of Business, and how that set him up for the
- Having the responsibility to lead Proctor &
Gamble South Asia.
- The Malaysia General Manager role running the
consumer sector business with brands such as L’Oreal Paris, Garnier and
Maybelline, before becoming Managing Director of the L’Oreal Group in Malaysia
- The decision of L’Oreal to change the global
language from French to English, to meet its ambition to be a truly
- Proctor & Gamble give the consumer what they
want versus L’Oreal giving the consumer what they dream of.
- His leadership style blending an innovative with
- Doing the homework in getting the data right and
then having the guts to make the call and going for it and not being afraid to
make some mistakes.
- The difference in leadership meetings between
Proctor & Gamble and L’Oreal.
- L’Oreal’s confrontation room, where one goes to
present new products, new concepts and new markets.
- Being able to transform L’Oreal Asia through
disrupting the approach from shampoo to cosmetics, hair care and skin care.
- Being bestowed the award of Chevalier de l’Ordre
Nationale du Merite by French President Jacques Chirac.
- Creating the first ever KL Fashion week with Star
Publication Group in Malaysia.
- Transforming into a Board Director for multiple
companies, not-for-profit organisations and educational institutions.
- The purpose and vision for Southgate Ventures Ltd
- Running the Singapore half marathon for the first
time in 2018.
- Packing a pair of running shoes provides and easy
opportunity to keep fit while travelling often.
- Would love to solve the question of, which
destination will he retire with his wife Juanita.
CEO Wellness Tip
Plan of Attack What
is your plan of attack to ensure that you get some exercise in every single
day? Remember ‘failure to plan is planning to fail’. CEO’s and leaders often
keep track of their important dates, meetings and deadlines in an online
schedule or physical diary. Some may even use a PA that keeps them on time, for
them. Your exercise and fitness should be no different. Exercise is a
fundamental building block to achieving peak performance as a CEO or Leader,
therefore it is important to take the time, sit down and assess each week,
month or year and seeing opportunities to block out regular timeslots for
exercise. You should treat these time-blocks the same way you would any other
homework in getting the data right, and then having the guts to make the call
and going for it and not being afraid to make some mistakes.” Alvin Hew explains his leadership style, on the active CEO Podcast.
Resources Mentioned in this show:
Alvin Hew LinkedIn
Proctor & Gamble
Southgate Ventures Pte Ltd
The Abraaj Group
Lancaster Financial Inc.
Petronas Dagangan Berhad
Queen’s University Smith School of Business
European Chamber of Commerce in Taipei
Taipei American School
Canadian Securities Institute
UC San Francisco.
Craig Johns firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching www.bengathercole.com.au
Better Than Winning – Ben Gathercoles’s best selling book