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Why Asian bosses are underrepresented in executive leadership


Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) has recently released a new report, The Global Asian Leader: From Local Star to Global CXO, which tackled tough questions about Asian underrepresentation in executive leadership, through in-depth interviews with 119 global CXOs.

Attended by Human Resources, the event unfolded key reasons that were stalling the growth of Asian leaders, as well as development areas and critical gaps in the development process - such as unfavourable country conditions, organisation culture constraints and individual “skill and will” issues.

In the press release, Dr. Thomas Goh, managing director and chief client officer, APAC, CCL, said: “Today, one in three top 300 companies by revenue globally originates from Asia. Logically, we should be seeing a significant proportion of Asian leaders at the forefront of executive leadership. The reality is far from this, however.”

“Organisations need to understand that they need Asian leaders with a nuanced understanding of the region to leverage the Asian advantage, and develop a healthy Asian leadership pipeline to groom these talents.”

CCL next steps

In the release, Sunil Puri, director of research, innovation and product development, Asia, CCL, who led this research, said: “In the research process, we held no-holds-barred conversations with senior leaders, Asian and otherwise, from the biggest Asian and global organisations, across various industries, and collated a wealth of data and insight which we used to formulate our counsel for this research.”

“Ultimately, both prospective Asian leaders and the organisations they work have to take action to eradicate the bamboo ceiling. To effectively develop their workers, organisations have to find a credible executive sponsor, and curate and invest in a 3-5 year global leadership development plan for their leaders. At the same time, Asian leaders have to step outside of their comfort zones and expose themselves to different cultural environment,” he concluded.

Lead Photo / Center for Creative Leadership

Infographic / Center for Creative Leadership

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