The One-Minute Interview
Could you share with us some interesting highlights of your job?
As the COO for the Product Control group in Asia Pacific my job provides me with a great deal of diversity. I am responsible for managing the budget, headcount and expenses for the department which provides all kinds of interesting challenges and conversations. At Credit Suisse we adopt a full allocation of costs to the Front Office. I am also responsible for maintaining the allocation matrix to the different Front Office businesses and having the various discussions with the Front Office around these numbers. In addition to these finance responsibilities I also have responsibility to help drive and design the people agenda and communication strategy across the group. The role gives me exposure to multiple areas of the bank and means that I get to work with many different people from across the bank both in terms of function and geography. One of the more interesting events that I took part in recently was an industry wide crisis management exercise conducted by the MAS which simulated a physical terrorist attack and cyber attack in Singapore. This required the Credit Suisse Singapore Crisis Management Team to convene for a half day to work through the simulation as it happened. It was an excellent learning experience and was extremely interesting to see how everyone reacted and worked in such a pressurised environment.
What makes Credit Suisse a great place to work in?
There are many levels on which Credit Suisse has fulfilled my expectations and facilitated my development. Throughout my career at Credit Suisse I've always felt privileged to work amongst such a talented, diverse and professional group of people from whom I have learned immensely over the years. The culture at Credit Suisse empowers staff to be proactive and collaborative which is a freedom and challenge that I really enjoy. There has always been a high level of recognition of efforts which makes you feel highly valued within the organisation. And lastly the great mobility culture and options that exist within Credit Suisse. I joined the Financial Accounting team in 2005 and subsequently moved to a role within Product Control before taking up my current position as the COO for Product Control.
What is the one trait you have which has led to your success?
I have always been a very positive and driven person in everything that I undertake and I think that has helped me throughout both my life and career. Having a positive and enthusiastic approach allows me to take on complex new challenges, always with the confidence that I can manage the task in hand whilst knowing that I can turn to my manager or peer network for help and advice if required. I'm also a strong believer that being positive is a healthier approach to life in general.
How does Credit Suisse spot potential leaders? What is done to groom them?
Our leadership building capability is an integral part of our "Grow Your Own" strategy and can be seen throughout all levels of the organisation. We have a significant campus recruitment presence and a structured analyst programme which provides new graduates with access to a wide array of training offerings, networking events and rotation opportunities. Staff growing towards the supervisory and junior management level have access to a wide range of management and interpersonal training designed to help them grow and develop as managers. In addition, we run a "Step Up to Lead" program for selected junior staff across the CFO division. This programme combines the management and interpersonal training with Philanthropy, Operational Excellence and/ or Knowledge sharing assignments in a structured approach. We see this program as the ideal preparation for first line management promotion.
At a more senior management level our annual performance review process enables us to identify and reward our top performers. In addition, we conduct a thorough Human Capital Planning process, which incorporates a review of the medium to long term potential, career, development and succession plans of our middle and senior managers. Out of this, our future leaders are identified and nominated to corporate and divisional talent development programs such as "Emerging Talent" and "Reaching My Potential" for VPs or the "Global Leadership Challenge" and the "International Management Development" course for Directors. These programmes blend workshop learning and corporate team assignments and enable delegates to develop their leadership potential, learn about other Credit Suisse businesses and strategy as well as enabling strong networking relationships across the organisation. Mentoring, 360 degree feedback and coaching are also common tools used within Credit Suisse and the CFO Division to help individuals grow into leaders within the organisation.
And finally, with such a demanding schedule, how do you manage balancing work and family? What advice can you offer?
Its about identifying what is important to you and prioritising these things within your schedule. You have to be realistic about what you can achieve and you need to be able to give a little here and take a little there from time to time without beating yourself up. With my work schedule and being a passionate triathlete and runner as well as having a young family at home, means that I am pretty busy most of the time. However I make sure that I see my family most mornings and spend as much time as possible with them at the weekend. I choose to fit my training in either at lunchtimes or to and from work in order to maximise the time I have available. It is a fairly hectic schedule at times, but I find it is one that works. For me it is very important to have a balanced lifestyle rather than being 100% focused on one aspect of life. This is something that Credit Suisse is extremely supportive of, whether it be through adhoc flexible working arrangements whereby IT solutions allow staff to periodically work from home or other offices as required, or through our more formalised Agile Working program, specifically designed to support staff through different life-stages.