Global marketing agency VMLY&R has appointed Bernadette Chan as Regional HR Director, Asia.

Based in VMLY&R Asia’s regional HQ, in Singapore, Chan will lead the agency's regional HR team and be responsible for the Asia network's overarching HR strategy. She will provide tactical HR support for its business operations and capital initiatives across Singapore, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, China and India.

In Asia, she reports into the agency’s Country Heads and Co-CEOs Tripti Lochan and Yi-Chung Tay, as well as reporting to Global HR. As a key member of VMLY&R’s Asia Regional Leadership team, Chan will work closely with them to help evolve the HR capabilities in Asia to build a connected employee experience. She also joins VMLY&R’s Global HR Leadership team, where she will have involvement in the creation of global HR transformation initiatives.

Chan’s role will help to support VMLY&R’s go-to-market strategy to provide its clients with the most relevant and contemporary agency offering in the market today, focused on six key pillars: Commerce, Advisory, Experience & Technology, Data & Insights as well as Brand Stewardship and Content & Media Innovation.

A seasoned HR leader, Chan brings with her more than 20 years’ experience working as a trusted HR advisor and partner to blue chip Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and Government Linked Corporations (GLCs) across the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

Prior to joining VMLY&R, Chan was Head of Group Human Capital with Times Publishing Group, a role she held for almost five years. In this role, she was responsible for the leadership and execution of the Group’s business goals, working closely with the CEO, senior leadership team and board of directors to build, reinforce, and engage organisational capabilities as a critical business lever.

In an exclusive interview with Human Resources Online, Chan reveals her top priority for this year as well as the number one talent concern in Asia Pacific at the moment.

Q How are your key responsibilities different from what you were working on previously?

There are certain HR practice areas that remain the same across every role, but the dynamism of the company and industry in Asia requires the talent strategy here to be agile and adaptive, to suit the ever-changing landscape that is undergoing changes due to digital disruption and changing consumer needs.

VMLY&R believes in the investment of people as an important business lever, which gives my role here more latitude and depth. With my current role, I also have the chance to be a part of a passionate and professional global HR leadership team that offers me the propensity to contribute at a broader strategic level.

Q In this role, what is your number one priority for this year?

After the unification of VMLY&R last year, a connected culture has been our prime driver of success and I want to not only maintain, but further fuel this culture, underpinned by our unique values and DNA, through region-wide initiatives.

I'm also committed to growing the HR bench strength and building a robust strategy to attract, retain and develop the best talent as an integral lever to drive business growth and sustainability.

This is indeed an exciting opportunity for me to contribute to creating new beginnings with the leadership team.

Q What is the number one talent concern in Asia Pacific at the moment?

As with any region, the war for talent in Asia is intense. Everyone is looking for the unicorns who will future proof the organisation.

I strongly believe that the creation of VMLY&R as an exciting new agency has given us the opportunity to redefine how the human capital agenda should be shaped to accelerate business outcomes and stakeholder value. From looking at the basics of putting HR structures, systems and processes in place, to developing capabilities and talent across the region, we’re getting the chance to do this the right way. We will achieve this through a delicate balance of acquiring new talent and growing our internal pipeline, which will set us on the right path moving into 2020 and beyond!

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