by James Henderson

CIO50 ASEAN 2020: Introducing the top 50 tech leaders in Southeast Asia

Dec 03, 2020
IT Leadership

A record-breaking pool of nearly 100 submissions was winnowed to 50 senior technology executives driving innovation, strengthening resiliency, and influencing rapid change.

CIO ASEAN is proud to introduce the second running of the CIO50 ASEAN awards, recognising the top 50 senior technology executives driving innovation, strengthening resiliency, and influencing rapid change.

Reflective of IDG’s increasing commitment to the region, the CIO50 ASEAN awards are aligned to a global awards program and viewed as a mark of excellence within the enterprise.

In 2020, the CIO50 ASEAN awards were judged on three core pillars of innovation, leadership, and resiliency, honouring transformational, inspiring, and enduring CIOs at both in-country and regional levels in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

We received more than 95 submissions from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Hong Kong in a record-breaking year for the awards program. Winners were unveiled during a celebration ceremony hosted virtually and attended by more than 160 technology executives from across the region.

First Shanghai Group takes top honors

The top-ranked technology leader in 2020 is Henry Mo, CIO of First Shanghai Group. In shaping the digital vision of International Medical Centre (IMC)—the first medical venture of the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate—Mo and his team disrupted the traditional medical experience through an ecosystem approach to patient care.

Leveraging technologies such as the internet of things, big data, and business intelligence, IMC operates as the most advanced healthcare facility in the city-state, revolutionising user experience through a network housing 13 digital systems to connect multiple stakeholders, business users, and medical facilities.

Providing personalised services—both virtually and in-person—akin to a five-star hotel, IMC has reduced patient processing times when seeking specialist healthcare, supported by an API and agile approach to innovation.

The rest of the Top 10 CIO50 ASEAN awardees

The other Top 10 awards went to, in order:

Andrew Farmer, the CIO of Mox Bank, for his work building a virtual bank in the space of 18 months.

Tommy Hor, chief IT officer of National University of Singapore (NUS), in recognition of enabling 50,000 staff and students to seamlessly embrace remote working and learning during COVID-19.

Krating Poonpol, president of technology at Kasikorn Bank.

Alvin Ong, CIO of Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Jimmy Ng, CIO of DBS Bank.

Dennis Omila, CIO of UnionBank of the Philippines.

Ivan Ng, CTO of City Developments Limited (CDL).

Daniel Tedeschi, head of technology and operations across Asia-Pacific at Chubb.

Individual recognition was also awarded to First Shanghai Group’s Mo, NTU’s Ong, and CDL’s Ng in the Innovation, Leadership, and Resiliency categories, respectively.

Technology leadership in numbers and words

Leaders of the CIO50 ASEAN award winners collectively hold responsibility for more than 33,000 IT employees across the ASEAN region and Hong Kong, averaging more than 660 staff members per organisation. The list covers a range of technology positions, spanning CIO, CTO, and CDO, in addition to transformation, business, and executive roles across seven countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.

More than 20 industry sectors were represented, including financial services, healthcare, insurance, banking, real estate, telecommunications, aviation, government, media and entertainment, transport, utilities, and trade unions.

At the start of 2020, CIOs across the region self-identified as “transformational” leaders, tasked with creating new revenue-generating initiatives with responsibilities expanding into cybersecurity and customer experience. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the market remained resilient and pressed ahead with change-agent activities, evident through a transition away from being merely custodians of the IT department to entrepreneurs driving new ideas and strategies.

In short, 2020 represented a milestone year for Southeast Asian and Hong Kong-based CIOs, who prioritised digital transformation to modernise infrastructure and applications, leveraging new ecosystems and technologies to enhance customer and user experience levels. The CIO50 ASEAN awardees list highlights a technology executive focused on creation and development, building first-to-market projects capable of overcoming the pandemic and setting the business up for future growth.

The CIO50 ASEAN awards criteria

The 2020 CIO50 ASEAN awards were judged on three core pillars of innovation, leadership, and resiliency.

  • Under the innovation pillar, the nomination described the technology innovations introduced over the past two years that have changed how the business operates.
  • Under the leadership pillar, the nomination outlined the ways in which the technology leader has collaborated and influenced the organisation and its leadership team.
  • Under the resiliency pillar, CIOs were recognised for ensuring continuity of operations and systems during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, before kick-starting efforts to reposition for growth during such a challenging and unpredictable period.

Open to the top technology leader in an organisation—the person with the overall responsibility and control of the IT vision and direction of the company—the CIO50 ASEAN awards acknowledged CIOs who operate at the forefront of decision-making to drive strategic change through technology.

Specifically, the CIO50 ASEAN awards sought to determine:

  • The technology innovation that changed how an organisation operates.
  • Why the innovation was unique in the marketplace.
  • How the executive collaborated and influenced the organisation and its leadership team.
  • The role technology played in helping the organisation achieve its objectives.

All entries were reviewed by a select and independent CIO50 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.

After 25 highlighted CIOs and organisations, the remaining 25 honourees recognised are listed alphabetically by company. The submissions also formed the basis of written profiles of all 50 technology leaders.

IDG congratulates all CIO50 ASEAN winners and finalists in 2020.