September 21, 2022
On working with passion and prioritising balance PLEASE CAN YOU GIVE US A LITTLE BACKGROUND INTO THE BUSINESS OF AEON CO. (M) BHD. IN MALAYSIA? AEON Co. (M) Bhd. (“AEON”) is a part of the AEON group of companies in Malaysia which is owned by its parent company, AEON Co. Ltd., based in Japan. AEON was set up on 15 September 1984, in response to the Malaysian Government‘s invitation to help modernise the country’s retail industry. AEON currently manages and operates 28 AEON malls, a retail chain of 34 AEON departmental stores, 9 AEON Maxvalu Prime supermarkets, 65 AEON Wellness pharmacies and 41 Daiso flat-price outlets with an extensive range of products such as daily essentials, household items, apparel, pharmaceuticals, flat-price items and other merchandise. AEON also offers Personal Shopper Services, DriveThru Services and Delivery Services via its myAEON2go e-commerce platform for fast, efficient and minimal contact shopping for its customers. In line with AEON’s “Customer First” policy, we endeavour to surpass our customers’ expectations and enhance their shopping experience with us. NOW, ON TO YOUR BACKGROUND – WHAT WERE YOUR STEPPING STONES TO REACHING THE POSITION OF HEAD OF LEGAL AT AEON, AND WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THIS ROLE BEEN LIKE THUS FAR? I was admitted as an Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in 1994. I hold a Bachelor and Master of Laws degree and obtained my Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in 2016. I was a practicing lawyer before joining AEON as the Legal Manager in 2000. From my accumulation of legal and retail experiences at AEON, I was entrusted the current...
September 21, 2022
Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) Group, based in Singapore and managing a global collective of resource manufacturing companies, is looking to do things a little differently. Where other corporates are being lambasted for their “green-washing” of brown business, RGE has created a foundation of sustainability through the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into their core business model. RGE’s philosophy is underpinned by the 5Cs concept: operating in a way that is good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer and, in turn, good for the Company. Rose Kong, Chief Legal Officer at RGE and leader of a global team of more than 100 lawyers, is responsible for RGE’s global legal, corporate governance and compliance activities and policies. She shares some thoughts on RGE’s green ambitions and the role she plays in this mission. Give me an overview of your role as in-house counsel in the Energy & Natural Resources sector. My first priority is to protect the interests of the shareholders and RGE group, from a legal point of view. However, besides advising on legal issues, we also provide advice from the ethics perspective. When I was called to the Bar more than 3 decades ago, part of my oath was to uphold justice. Thus, although there are commercial and legal imperatives to consider, an overarching priority is to ensure that we are doing the right thing as a business, so that our different business groups can have a positive impact on climate, nature and the communities that they operate in. This provides enormous job satisfaction. I feel fortunate to be able to work for an organisation where what...
July 18, 2022
Winning words from IHC’s In-House Counsel of the Year, 2021.   1. Can you please give us a snapshot of your career journey thus far? This will be my 10th year with AIA, the largest independent publicly-listed Pan Asian insurance group. Like many general counsel, I started my legal career in private practice. My main specialisation was in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). I’ve advised on transactions ranging from take-overs of SGX-listed companies to offshore investments by PRC state-owned enterprises in the course of my career in practice. A key turning point in my career was when I moved to Hong Kong in 2012 for my first in-house role. This was with AIA Group’s joint venture with Discovery Group, the largest insurer in South Africa. We were one of the first insurers in Asia to venture into the health and wellness space – the start of a strategic shift into helping our customers not only protect well, but live well. My portfolio was also a unique blend of business and legal, as I was both Head of Partnerships Development and General Counsel. That subsequently led to a different role within the AIA Group Legal team, and finally to my current General Counsel role with AIA Singapore. 2. With over 5 years under the belt as General Counsel of AIA Singapore, what has the term “GC” come to mean to you? “General” means this role is a generalist one. Besides in-depth specialist legal knowledge in your organisation’s primary business activities, the GC must also have the ability to spot issues across a broad domain of laws that may also affect the business – from employment,...
July 15, 2022
Insights into the evolving landscape of Vietnam from an American lawyer who calls the country his home 1. While originally qualified in the USA, you have over 35 years of experience working in Vietnam. Can you please walk us through your journey to Asia and some career highlights from your years working on the continent? I came to Asia and Vietnam in 1964 as a Lieutenant in the US Navy.  When my Navy service ended, I remained in Vietnam for nearly 10 years until the end of the war.  I was already a lawyer and I, along with several other Americans, started a law firm with several offices.  I practiced in our Saigon office until 1975 when the war ended.  Our clients in Vietnam were Vietnamese, American, French and other foreign companies.  There were individuals as well.  Everything we did had an overlay involving the war. To be sure, it was an exciting time.  I married Camille Cam Van. By then I felt very comfortable in Asia, and I knew I would remain. I lived and practiced law with our firm in Thailand and in New York during the next 15 years. I returned to Vietnam and reopened our office in the early 1990s.  We have grown with the country, and I believe that we have been able to contribute to its growth. There are now many more complex financings, larger sums are involved, and there are more investments into companies that provide energy, healthcare, education. Vietnamese companies have begun to list abroad. 2. As a named partner of Russin & Vecchi, recognised as a top law firm in Vietnam, you will have...
June 20, 2022
Tell us about your professional background and why you’ve chosen in-house roles for most of your career thus far, as opposed to private practice. I’m currently a senior legal counsel at Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS). KOGAS is one of the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importers in the world, with imports topping US$20 billion every year, making it also one of the largest private companies in the world. I joined KOGAS in 2017. When I joined the team, there were only a few U.S qualified lawyers to deal with more than 20 projects in the world. So, it has been very adventurous to build up the team until now. I started my career in private practice at Kim & Chang in South Korea, before moving to the contract department of SK Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd from 2011 to 2016, also spending some time at its Canadian subsidiary, Sunlake Co. Ltd, as a general counsel. I made this move to in-house as, while I did a lot of corporate work, including M&A, while at Kim & Chang, I always wanted to contribute my legal skills and knowledge for South Korea. As a country, South Korea is 94% dependent on imports in natural resources; we just don’t have energy, gas and oil here. So, I decided to focus my career on the energy sector. South Korea is also a little different from other places. Energy companies in Korea, including private companies and public companies like state owned enterprises (SOEs), don’t often give legal work to Korean law firms due to lack of experience. They usually instruct international law firms and...
April 28, 2022
On leaving comfort zones and finding opportunities in times of change   Q: Tell Us About Your Professional Background, Giving An Overview Of Experience As Both External And In-House Counsel. I hold a master’s degree in Business Law, University of Paris II Panthéon – Assas (Paris – France), and a postgraduate degree in Corporate & Tax Law, University of Paris IX Dauphine (Paris – France). I was a member of the Paris and Luxembourg Bars. Prior to joining Nestlé MENA, I worked for nine years as a lawyer at leading law firms and as in-house legal counsel for multinational groups headquartered in Paris and Luxembourg. I have gained considerable experience in advising, both as an external and as an in-house counsel, on all areas of business law with a focus on the legal considerations of mergers, acquisitions, cross-border acquisitions, corporate restructurings and commercial transactions. I am currently the Head of Legal & Compliance of Nestlé for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market (covering 19 countries). Based in Dubai, I advise on all areas of business law with a focus on commercial, contracts, corporate matters, antitrust, corporate governance and compliance. Q: You Have Built A Career Across Multiple Jurisdictions And Now, As Head Of Legal And Compliance Of Nestlé – Mena Market, You Manage A Practice Area Equally Traversing Borders. What Challenges And Opportunities Have These Experiences Provided You? In-house lawyers, like other functions, are not immune from the human tendency to “do what you know” rather than “do what the job demands.” When I decided to relocate abroad, I was leaving my comfort zone as I would...