CIO75 ASEAN 2021: Introducing the top 75 tech leaders in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong

BrandPost By James Henderson
Dec 01, 2021
IDG Events

A record-breaking pool of nearly 150 submissions was winnowed to 75 senior technology executives driving innovation, strengthening resiliency, and influencing rapid change.

cio75 asean award1200
Credit: IDG

CIO ASEAN is proud to unveil the expanded CIO75 ASEAN Awards in 2021, recognising the top 75 senior technology executives driving innovation, strengthening resiliency, and influencing rapid change across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

The CIO75 ASEAN Awards are aligned to IDG’s global awards program and viewed as a mark of excellence within the enterprise. First launched as the CIO50 ASEAN awards in 2019, the decision to expand the initiative to 75 awards was in recognition of a wealth of standout submissions, increased interest levels, and a desire to showcase examples of best transformation practice across all markets and sectors in Southeast Asia, focussing on the ASEAN countries and Hong Kong.

CIO75 ASEAN registered a record year in 2021 with more than 150 nominations submitted, over 20 industry sectors on show and eight markets represented—spanning Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Myanmar.

CIO75 ASEAN is not only a true representation of the regional market but a true illustration of the outstanding achievements delivered by individuals, wider teams and entire organisations.

This is a market continuing to overcome ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions—some of which have been in place for more than 18 months—while battling some of the worst outbreaks of infections and encountering the most devastating societal and economic implications in the process.

Yet this is a market which presses on unperturbed, raising the bar for industry excellence through the deployment of bleeding-edge technologies and enhanced business models. Two words perfectly illustrates the DNA of the CIO75 ASEAN in 2021—tough and transformative in equal measure.

Such work also cements CIO75 ASEAN as the leading awards program for technology leaders in the region, forming part of a broader Asia-Pacific initiative alongside the CIO50 Australia, CIO50 New Zealand, and CIO100 India awards. These are in addition to CIO100 awards in the US and UK, plus the recent launch of CIO50 Middle East awards.

Winners were unveiled during a celebration ceremony hosted virtually and attended by more than 300 technology executives from across the region.

Honouring the leading CIOs in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong

The top ranked CIO in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong in 2021 is Jimmy Ng, Group CIO of DBS Bank. Shaped by a customer-centric mindset—a philosophy which flows both top-down and bottom-up—Singapore-based Jimmy spearheaded 3 bold new developments during the past 12-24 months.

Firstly, blockchain in the form of DBS Digital Exchange (DDEx)—a first-of-its-kind private exchange built on blockchain technology that enables Institutional and Accredited Investors to leverage a fully integrated tokenisation, trading, and custody ecosystem for digital assets.

Secondly, public cloud in the form of Evolve—a continuous delivery platform which enables DBS to adopt public cloud at scale, regardless of cloud service vendor, allowing the business to increase public cloud adoption by over 600%.

Thirdly, AI in the form of JOY—a contextual servicing function that enables the introduction of relevant products and services to customers for a more intuitive, seamless banking experience. JOY helped generate new revenue streams for DBS, driving a year-on-year 130% increase in Foreign Exchange volume and a 79% increase in revenue.

Other CIO75 ASEAN awardees, starting in numerical order include:

#1: Jimmy Ng—Group CIO, DBS Bank

#2: Ivan Ng—Group CTO, City Developments Limited (CDL)

#3: Suhail Suresh—Group CTO, Maybank

#4: Rama Sridhar—EVP of Digital, Mastercard

#5: Peter Tay—Chief Digital Officer, NTUC Income

#6: Benjamin Mann—CTO, foodpanda

#7: Henry Mo—CIO, First Shanghai Group

#8: Alvin Ong—CIO, NTU

#9: Francisco Castillo—CIO, Maynilad Water Services

#10: Miao Song—Global CIO, GLP

#11: Jim Sarka—Regional CIO, Johnson & Johnson

#12: Stuart Gurr—Group CIO, Deutsche Bank

#13: Rahul Shinde—CIO, Coca-Cola (Vietnam)

#14: Abhishek Singh—CDO, Royal Golden Eagle (RGE)

#15: Michelle Wu—Regional CIO, Ingram Micro

#16: Glen Francis—CTO, Singapore Press Holdings

#17: Herman Widjaja—CTO, Tokopedia / Aswin Utomo—CIO, Tokopedia

#18: Carlo Malana—CIO, Globe Telecom

#19: Sharon Ng—CIO, Ministry Family (Singapore)

#20: Aaron Lee—CIO, Blue Insurance

#21: Shashank Singh—Group CTO, Validus Capital

#22: Dr. Michael Gorriz—Group CIO, Standard Chartered Bank

#23: Jarung Kiatsupapong—CIO, Kasikorn Business-Technology Group (KBTG)

#24: Sanjay Thomas—CIO, Advanced Info Service (AIS)

#25: Winnie Rebancos—CIO, Coca-Cola (Philippines)

CIO of the Year (Innovation)

  • Rama Sridhar—EVP of Digital, Mastercard

CIO of the Year (Leadership)

  • Benjamin Mann—CTO, foodpanda

After 25 highlighted CIOs and organisations, the remaining 50 honourees recognised and ones to watch are listed alphabetically by company. To view the CIO75 ASEAN award winners—click here.

Revenue-generating CIOs take transformation reins

As demonstrated through CIO75 ASEAN submissions, CIOs in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong stepped up to grab the reins of digital transformation during the past 12-18 months— leading businesses to recalibrate operations, create new touchpoints and orchestrate a near-overnight shift to remote work amidst unprecedented change.

According to State of the CIO findings—92% of CIOs spearheaded transformation efforts compared to other lines of business—resulting in almost every IT executive—at 97% – noting that their individual role has become more digital and innovation focused.

Within this context, 87% of CIOs implemented new technologies, IT strategies and/or methodologies due to the pandemic—CIOs led the charge in 2020, built the foundations for growth in 2021 and now have the backing to execute in 2022.

Therefore—and unsurprisingly—the influence of the CIO is expanding, resulting in more than half of IT executives in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong—54% to be precise—self-identifying as transformational, significantly higher than global counterparts at 47%.

State of the CIO research suggests that as CIOs dig deeper into transformational activities, they continue to expand their domain to take on additional responsibilities and oversight in non-traditional areas.

One of the most significant focuses for all CIOs is creating new revenue-generating initiatives, including the development of new products and services.

Specifically, 74% of CIOs are now tasked with revenue responsibilities and 42% now manage a team tasked with creating new revenue-generating programs. Delving deeper, 47% of CIOs continue to introduce new revenue streams, 52% are tasked with increasing top-line revenue and 61% are required to boost profitability.

To put this into context, CIOs in Manila, Jakarta or Bangkok are now just as likely as CIOs in New York, London or Dubai to take ownership of revenue-generating responsibilities—local IT executives have been served with a revenue-driven agenda.

The pace-setting CIOs are also interacting directly with their own customers, 78% compared to 69% are prioritising having weekly or monthly meetings with internal executive leaders.

In other words, CIOs are moving beyond the confines of the IT department or even the wider organisation to take control of the customer conversation. They are using deep levels of expertise and forward-thinking mindsets to support the business in aggressively taking market share, driving up revenue and profits in the process.

The CIO75 ASEAN awards criteria

In 2021, CIO75 ASEAN was judged on the core pillars of innovation and leadership, honouring transformational, inspiring, and enduring CIOs at both in-country and regional levels within Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

  • Under the innovation pillar, the nomination described the technology innovations introduced over the past two years that changed the way the business operates.
  • Under the leadership pillar, the nomination outlined the ways in which the technology leader collaborated and influenced the wider organisation and its leadership team.

All entries were reviewed by a select and independent CIO75 ASEAN judging panel, who rated each section of the questionnaire to determine the final list. The most powerful nominations provided real-world examples of where technology and digital chiefs are successfully providing value to organisations, driving innovation and leading teams.

IDG congratulates all CIO75 ASEAN winners and finalists in 2021.