Meet the CFO: Jeffrey Chan FCPA

As finance director for Triumph International, Chan finds that the devil lies in the detail.

Jeffrey Chan is the finance director at Swiss lingerie maker Triumph International in Hong Kong. He is responsible for financial controlling in South-East Asia. He's also deputy president for CPA Australia in Greater China.

In his own words:

The role

I’m finance director for Triumph in the extended South-East Asia region, based in Hong Kong, and oversee regional financial controlling for markets  like Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka and South Africa – plus budgeting, forecasting and performance tracking of budgets.

I am also responsible for finance support of global innovation and quality assurance functions headquartered in Hong Kong.

Triumph is headquartered in Switzerland, operates in more than 120 countries and has more than 35,000 employees.

This is a placeholder imageKey lessons

My role is both regional and global, so we have to be very aware of the cultural and human aspects in order to collaborate and bring out the best in the team.

I’ve learned a lot about different cultures and multi-disciplinary teams, and how to achieve excellence for the company as a team.

Career boost

When I was with Shell I had the chance to be responsible for both finance and sales and marketing of a downstream business in China. I established joint ventures in China and took up directorship.

This involved not only the organisation set-up but also the human side such as corporate social responsibility, HR recruitment, plus the sales and marketing activities.

I broadened my skills base and widened my knowledge to different disciplines. This escalated my perspective at a higher level.

Key strengths

Nowadays strategic leadership is imperative, and with my experience I’m able to quickly grasp what a company needs, how to drive added value and bring in changes to manage the dynamics.

I remain diligent, not just in strategic overview, but also into the details.

Sometimes the devil lies in the detail and I am able to see where the areas are that might have been overlooked.

Getting started

In the late 1980s, after I graduated in Australia and became a CPA, I joined Deloitte in Hong Kong.

Since then I’ve worked in several multinationals – HSBC, Hutchison Whampoa and Royal Dutch Shell. I joined Triumph in 1999 as regional financial controller for China, looking after finance, as a business partner and heading the Chinese finance team.

I became financial controller for Asia and was then promoted to finance director for the global private label business and global functions, including design and innovation, which are headquartered in Hong Kong.

Challenges

The economy is ever changing, so we have to be vigilant. We cannot simply establish a budget then leave it for a year and wait and see how it goes. We must have regular forecasts to be able to bring in contingent planning as quickly as possible.

If we are vigilant we can see the patterns and respond quickly and effectively.

This article is from the August 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK.

Related: Do your skills measure up? Assess yourself with CPA Australia's Career Guidance System.


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