South East Asia's most distinct and renowned setting has long resulted in unique leadership strategies of constructing an organisation. Many South East Asian countries gained independence through struggle and protest, and they have strived to reform colonial-era institutional structures. Even today, changes in leadership can result in policy changes that disrupt business and push organisations to make quick adjustments. In this article, our team at peopleHum presents the perspectives of 40 South East Asian HR leaders who exemplify the region’s leadership approaches.
Disclaimer: The list is purely subjective and is created on the basis of relevant experience and the contribution of the selected professionals to the field of human resources. If you have any suggestions or recommendations of other names who deserve to be a part of the list, please reach out to us and nominate your choice.
How do we evaluate the most influential HR leader's success, and who qualifies for the 40 Most Influential HR Leaders Across South East AsiaList? This year's winners were chosen using the following methodology:
- Interviews, conferences, recognition and recommendations by peers.
- Their influence on the growth and performance of the affiliated organisations.
- Their influence on their industry and the larger communities that they serve.
- An examination of the talent that they have assisted in attracting and retaining.
- General and specific observations about the company culture they have helped to shape.
- Diversity and inclusion are a cornerstone of their work, not an afterthought.
- Consideration of the progressive development plans and programmes that have been made available to the workforce.
- Consideration of positive workplace dynamics, engagement, and satisfaction.
- Those named to the Top 2022 CHRO List must be engaged, transparent, and accountable – in other words, they must care deeply about their employees and their holistic well-being.
The 40 Most Influential HR Leaders Across South East Asia
Harry Permadi Dirgananto
Harry Permadi Dirgananto is the Vice President of Human Resources at Shell Indonesia. He is a seasoned HR executive with strong capabilities in strategic human resource areas like post-merger integration, organisational re-structuring, culture and change management, talent management, and HR development blueprints. He is known to be a passionate leader who has the ability to provide quick win program and in parallel provide step by step mid-long term milestones as a roadmap to top management. He believes in the synergy of team performance and the development of authentic potentials of a workforce.
Irvandi Ferizal is the Human Capital Director at Maybank since 2015. He is a well-known figure in the HR Indonesia circles, with over 30 years of expertise in the sector. Irvandi is a consummate professional who has held positions at Kalbe Farma, TNT Indonesia, Nokia Siemens Network, Mondelez Indonesia, and Southeast Asia on the ISC business unit. Irvandi is an industrial and organisational psychologist with a great desire to see HR professionals thrive in Indonesia and throughout the ASEAN region. For the years 2013-2016, he served as the Chairman of the Indonesia HR Association (PMSM).
Dudi Arisandi is the Chief People Officer at Tiket. Com. He currently manages the entire HR spectrum, as well as general business and procurement. Dudi holds over 18 years of experience in the HR field, and has aided in the accomplishment of titles such as “Most caring company” and “Best Company to Work for” from HR Asia. He holds a Masters in Industrial Engineering from Institut Teknologi Bandung, and is presently focused on the implementation of a strong employee experience, including measures to improve employer branding.
Rosalina Sirait is the Employee Engagement Manager at PT. Pegadaian. She is a seasoned HR professional with wide experience in HR cross functional scope, who manage Business Partnering, Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, Talent & Organization Development, Culture & Employee engagement, Internal & External Communication, Event Management and HR Operations. Rosalina has previously held several people-related positions at Traveloka and Procter & Gamble.
Yusnita Febriati is the Head of Human Resources at Upfield. Starting out as an Account Executive at Indo Pacific Edelman, Yusnita went ahead to hold positions as Sr. Talent Manager at British American Tobacco, Talent Planning & Development Senior Manager at Danone Aqua, Recruitment Manager at PT HM Sampoerna Tbk, Consultant at Asia Select Indonesia as well as People Search Indonesia, and Senior Recruiter at the The Agency. She holds an expertise in areas of talent management, talent acquisition, employee assessments and learning & development.
Swasono S. Is the Chief Human Resources Officer of Engery and Digital Technology Business at Techconnect Innovation Center. He holdss certifications in leadership academy, human resources management and services from Carnegie Mellon University - Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, where he led as a team leader in Asia Pacific. Swasono Satyo is a human capital development professional with over 29 years of experience working for international corporations. He has vast experience in a variety of industries, including FMCG, mining, and oil & gas.
Ferhat Wideru is the Business HR Head - Senior Vice President at Bank Danamon Indonesia. He is a seasoned HR professional who currently plays the role of a HR Business Partner and provides advice and support to management on a broad spectrum of strategic and operational challenges of human resources. Ferhat has previously held position as the AVP of Compensation and Benefit at Citibank, and was reponsible for designing, overseeing and implementing a company’s compensation and benefit programs. He holds a Masters degree in Human Resources from Pascarjana MB-IPB along with a Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering from Bogor Agricultural University.
Anung Anindita is the Senior Vice President Human Resources at PT. Pegadaian. He is an experienced policy and procedure expert with demonstrated expertise in organisational growth, personnel development, talent management, performance management, compensation and benefits, retention strategies, managerial support, productivity, labour relations, and negotiations. Anung is well-recognised for providing HR leadership in the form of diverse business principles and projects. He is known to be a critical contributor to senior operating and leadership executives.
Suryo Sasono is the Senior Vice President of Talent at Bukalapak. With a background in engineering, human resources, and business, he is a well-rounded generalist who has led cross-functional global projects, company-wide reorganisations and large outsourcing schemes. He has developed HR hire-to-retire processes, and advised business leaders on human capital strategy and execution. Suryo graduated from Bandung Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from INSEAD.
Fong Tuan Chen
Fong Tuan Chen is the Chief People Officer at Berjaya Corporation Berhad wher ehe is reposnible for the group’s people practices, policies and strategies to build a high-performance culture. He was previously the HR & General Affairs Director at Samsung Malaysia Electronics, Chief People Officer at Mah Sing Group and had top HR management positions with B. Braun Asia Pacific, Maybank Group, British American Tobacco, OCBC, and Coca-Cola. He was also the Malaysian talent practise lead for Willis Towers Watson. Fong is a chartered financial analyst and a licenced professional engineer. He has a first-class honours degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, as well as a postgraduate degree from INSTEAD and Harvard University.
Nora Manaf is the Group Chief Human Capital Officer at Maybank. She is the Chairman of the Malayan Commercial Banks' Association, a member of the Malaysian Employers Federation, National Labour Advisory Committee, Advisory Committee for UUM Master of Science (Finance), Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera and the University-Industry Advisory Council. She holds a post-graduate certificate in Human Resource Development from Cornell University and is a qualified Gallup Strengthsfinder Coach Level II. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University Utara Malaysia (UUM) College of Business.
Safinas Mohd Ibrahim
Safina Mohd Ibrahim is the Chief People Officer at AXA Affin Insurance. She holds over 23 years of expertise in Human Resources management. Safinas was one of the first AXA entities to implement robotics in recruitment processes, with the goal of reducing turnaround time and eliminating mundane administrative tasks, and improving the experience of both hiring managers and recruiters. She also made a significant contribution to the implementation of Manager-Self-Service for resignation, transfer, and change manager functions, with the goal of empowering line managers and promoting digital agility.
Syukri Sudari is the Group Chief People Officer at Affin Bank Group. He is a experienced CHRO with a track record of success in a variety of industries, including financial services, telecommunications, aerospace, engineering, and insurance. He is also the President of the Association of Insurance Employers and a Malaysia Employer Federation Council Member (MEF). He has achieved a different success in his career by spearheading the acquisition of new distribution channels for the company, in addition to his competence in the HR area, where he also engaged himself in strategic business initiatives.
Khim Tan is the Group Chief Human Resource Officer at Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad. She is in charge of creating and promoting a culture of growth and innovation. Khim has more than 25 years of Human Capital Management expertise, with a focus on people management, leadership development, and organisational efficiency. She has worked for local conglomerates and big multinational corporations such as AIA Malaysia, British American Tobacco, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Maybank, and TA Enterprise over the course of her career. She has completed training with the International Coach Federation and is a Certified Coach (ICF).
Dr. Loo Leap Han
Dr. Loo Leap Han is the Group Head of Talent Management (Malaysia & Singapore) at Biomed Global. He is a seasoned professional with over 18 years of HR experience in the manufacturing, healthcare, and infrastructure construction industries, with expertise in topics such as talent management, employee skill gap analysis, HR financial and costing, workplace bullying, and more. Dr. Loo holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Malaya. His areas of specialty include strategic HR management, organisational culture, and company performance.
Shalina Gopalan is the Group Chief Human Resource Officer at Asahi Holdings Southeast Asia Sdn Bnd. Shalina holds 20 years of progressive HR experience and has developed solutions to address organisation and people ssues across a diverse range of industries. She has led and delivered numerous turnkey projects for businesses in Malaysia and other parts of the world, and she is in high demand for her expertise in strategic talent management, business transformation, change management, balancing strategic and operational HR, and organisational development.
Ching Li Chew
Ching Li Chew is the HR Director at Kone. She holds over 20 years of HR leadership experience in outsourcing, shared services, consultancy, corporate HR, strategic business partnerships and total rewards in a variety of industries. Her significant work experience at prominent MNC firms has given rise to her expertise in HR Transformation projects, Organization Development, Compensation & Benefits Strategy, Performance Management, Talent Management & Succession Planning, Employee Experience, and a variety of other areas. Ching Li is now in charge of KONE Malaysia's Empowered People initiative.
Jireh Adrian Goh
Jireh Adrian Goh is the Global Commercial Business Area Lead - Strategic Pipelining at Roche Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. He is involved in important parts of the design, implementation, and development of Roche's global talent management and innovation practises. Jireh is known to be passionable about people and organisational growth. He consults on topics such as Leadership Development, Organizational Agility, and Career Navigation, based on his 15 years of commercial leadership in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting in Asia Pacific.
David Jansen is currently the Head of People and Culture at Rotiboy Bakeshoppe. He has worked in HR for nearly 18 years in a variety of roles nd businesses. He spent nearly 14 years with Shell Malaysia, where he handled a variety of HR positions, and has also worked as an HR Project Manager for PwC Malaysia. Jansen’s core strengths lie in the areas of business parterning, engagement, project management and organizational effectiveness. David holds a Masters in Human Resource Management from the Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL).
Alvin Low is the Head of People at Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd where he is in charge of implementing people strategies to help the company expand. He is a seasoned HR executive with 18+ years of experience in a variety of industries, including healthcare, FMCG, market research, telecommunications, and retail. He previously worked for GlaxoSmithKline where he teamed with the business to build capabilities, promote engagement, and foster a high-performance culture. He also effectively led the GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis joint venture's integration. His areas of expertise include talent management and leadership capability, high-performance culture, and change management.
Christina Chan is the Head of HR Strategy and Org Effectiveness at U Mobile, where she is in charge of Leading HR strategy and organization effectiveness, focus on HR digital strategy, cultural transformation, talent management & talent development, performance management and leading teams to higher potential and performance. Christina has over 22 years of professional HR experience under her belt, with regional and global experience.
Helen Coult is an experienced sales and talent intelligence leader, and a member of Armstrong Craven’s Global Operations Board, involved in the strategic direction and leadership of the business. Helen has amassed over 18 years of experience in executive search, global talent acquisition and talent consultancy. She consults at a Director level to the C-Suite across technology, healthcare & life sciences, consumer, industrial, financial services & private equity and professional service sectors.
Gary Lee is the Assistant General Manager at Keppel Corporation Limited, where he leads global People Development & Performance Management at the Group HR level. With over 17 years of global and regional experience in strategic and operational HR, Gary has worked with various MNCs and SMEs as an HR development leader and business partner. He also partners with business unit HR heads to co-create enterprise-wide HR solutions on key topics such as digital transformation, sustainability, and key business capabilities.
Eugene Loh is the Director of People at MODEC Offshore Production Systems (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. Eugene is hailed as a passionate HR practitioner, and has spent 17 years following and exercising that passion in the field. He is a practitioner in business partnering, total rewards and HR systems, and is well-regarded for his ability of out of the box thinking an adaptive strategies.
Deborah Woollard is the Group Chief People Officer at MyRepublic. She is an international HR leader, amassing more than 20 years of business experience, and has a passion for developing talent, leaders and cultures. Through her diverse range of roles across industry segments around the world, Deborah has helped companies transform through their people. She has extensive experience in building, scaling and transforming organisations, developing leaders & teams and delivering integrated employee experiences across a wide range of diverse cultures, geographies and industries.
Wing Git Chan
Wing Git Chan is the Group Head of Talent & Excitement at Luxasia. He has practised in the field of Human Resources for over 18 years, and has derived a unique set of experiences through his tenure in private and public sector roles.
Isaac Chin is the Director of HR Technology & Analytics, Asia Pacific at Marriott International. Isaac has gained tremendous experience in the field of HR for close to 10 years. He defines his work as one where he leverages technology and analytics to gain actionable insights, which inspires data-driven decisions that tackle the most pertinent people/organizational challenges of the business.
Angelina Chua is the Acting Group Chief Human Resource Officer at ComfortDelGro. She has over 20 years of Human Resources experience managing the role in the Asia Pacific region, US and Europe. She is an ardent advocate for talent development and believes that people can bring immense positive contribution to an organization when they are cared for and constantly engaged.
Kelvin Kong is the Head of Business Organizational Effectiveness and Head of Youth Strategy for the Lazada Group. Kelvin is a visionary business & HR leader who takes organizations through digital transformation, building transformation from inside out, through people, organisation, leaders and technology, centred around building customer value. Supporting his career comes over 20 years of sales & marketing experience. The wide span of exposure has enabled him to serve effectively from both the business and talent side of the organization, across different industries such as e-Commerce, F&B, Media, Technology, FMCG and Logistics.
Karen Lim is the Head of Human Resources, Asia Pacific Region for Skyworks Solutions, Inc. She has been a practicing HR professional for over 10 years, after previously pioneering business development and sales operations across the Asia Pacific region for over 12 years. Karen is an accomplished business HR leader, dedicated to strategic human capital insights for advisory decisions in highly matrix organizations.
Vandna Ramchandani is the Regional Head of Corporate Philanthropy & Employee Engagement, Asia Pacific, for Bloomberg LP. Vandna is a commercial, data-driven leader, specializing in aligning the People and D&I strategy to the Business strategy. With over 20 years of leadership experience in the global financial services industry, she is extremely comfortable navigating a matrix environment, managing stakeholders at all levels, and brings the unique perspective of an HR and a business leader.
Goldie Shwe Yee Win Lei
Goldie Shwe Yee Win Lei is the executive HR and Organizational Development practitioner at PTT Exploration and Production public Company Limited (PTTEP). Prior to her work in Thailand, she worked as an HR professional in Myanmar for over 25 years. Goldie is an internationally certified senior HR professional and passionate people leader with an extensive background in HR management. She is excellent at all-round strategic advisory skills for organizational development.
Akarin Phureesitr is the Group Head of People at Central Pattana. A Human Resources professional with over 20 years of experience, Akarin currently works on business management and strategy with a strong focus on people development and empowerment. While his track record involved management and development in senior HR positions, Akarin’s personal focus is on people development including talent management, succession planning, management of training & development function and organization development.
Nuttawut Kietchaiyakorn is currently the Human Resources Director (Acting) at True Corporation. He is a passionate and committed leadership development professional who aims to build more leaders in Thailand form the inside out. Nuttawut is skilled in Training Facilitation, Change Management, Graphic Facilitation, and Risk Management.
Sarah Intarapromma is the Head of HR Operations - HRPB at TDCX. She has worked as HR professional for nearly a decade, and in that time has amassed skills in Strategic HR, operations, Workplace Commination, Leadership and negotiation.
Agapol Na Songkhla
Agapol Na Songkhla is the Chief People Officer at Thai Beverage PLC - a position he has held for over 7 years. Under his leadership, Thai Beverage PLC was honoured as one of the Best Companies to Work for in Asia for 2 consecutive years and was one of only 5 companies to receive the We Care Awards 2020 in Thailand.
Vasin Udomratchatavanich is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Krungsri. He as amassed over 17 years of experience as an HR leader and professional, with a strong background in Human Resource Development and Organization Development across various industries such as retail, insurance, banking & finance.
Piyanuch Limapornvanitch is the Chief People Officer at Pomelo Fashion, the fashion tech startup. Piyanuch has amassed a career in HR that spans over 20 years. Her focus at Pomelo Fashion is directed towards building talent density. Apart from this, she speaks about HR in startups and employee centricism.
Athikom Kanchanavibhu is the Vice President, Business Transformation at Zuellig Pharma. He is a bespoke digital business transformation orchestrator with over 21 years of experience in consulting and industry. Athikom drives business performance transformation through design thinking at the intersection of business, people, technology, and innovation.
Tanayos Khrutabiab is the HR Director at L’Oréal, Thailand, where he has served as an HR professional for over 11 years. His skills involve the knowledge of FMCG, business strategy, and HR. His motto is “Building Talents that can create beauty that moves the world.”
Matukorn S. Is the Country Head of People & Organisation at Novartis. She has had an illustrious career in HR that spans 17 years and across industries. Under Matukorn’s leadership, Novartis as awarded as Thailand’s HR Asia Best Companies to Work For 2020-2021.