Victor Seah

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Nestlé Indochina

2019

OUTSTANDING LEADERS IN ASIA

Victor Seah

OUTSTANDING LEADERS IN ASIA

2019

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Nestlé Indochina

WORDS FROM THE JURY PANEL

Victor Seah has driven the mindset for a passion for growth admirably. The change has enabled Nestle Indochina to deliver two consecutive years of sustainable and profitable growth, gaining market share in a declining market.

Words from the winner

Victor Seah

Sweet Victor-y

Nestlé Indochina’s new Chairman continues FMCG giant’s winning streak.

Nestlé Indochina participates in 15 FMCG categories against local, regional, and global competitors in four countries. Its vision is to drive sustainable and profitable growth in Indochina by enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future, through purpose-driven brands and healthier solutions for all stages of life. To do this, the company focuses on providing tastier, healthier products and services. It has reworked its product portfolio with consumers’ health in mind, and now has the highest number of SKUs (a total of 49) that have met the Thailand Healthier Choice criteria.
Nestlé Indochina’s 3,400 employees take their cue from their charismatic Chairman and CEO, Victor Seah, who was appointed in May 2018. Based in Bangkok, Singaporean Seah has overall responsibility for Nestlé’s diverse manufacturing, commercial, distribution and export operations in Thailand and oversees the development of high-potential markets of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. “Nearly 90 percent of what we sell is manufactured locally in the region, which gives us a competitive edge compared to companies that import products. It also lets us adapt to the needs of local consumers, shoppers, and customers. We believe there is no such a thing as a global consumer – all consumers are local. Nestlé has global R&D and product technological centers that work with local application groups to adapt our products that are manufactured in different countries to meet local preferences for taste. We sell our portfolio of products to the 140 million consumers in Indochina through a wide-ranging network of 500,000 retail partners in the Thai, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar (TCLM) markets,” says Seah, who joined the consumer giant in 2006 as Country Business Manager for Nestlé Professional in Singapore.
Seah has a first-class honors degree in Finance from Southern Illinois University, USA, and has completed executive programs at INSEAD and the London Business School. He says, “While formal education is important, I firmly believe in learning by doing. I had the great opportunity to work with some extraordinary people in my career, and this real-life experience has shaped my thinking and leadership more than any education. One of the most difficult times I’ve experienced as a leader was when we were not growing and were being disrupted by new business models (ecommerce), price wars by our competitors, and new excise taxes that impacted profitability of some of our key products. The main priority was to motivate and inspire our team to ‘change the wheels of the bus while we were still moving.’ It was about putting the right people in the right chairs, aligning the organization around a common goal to grow, and empowering our team to deliver. The success of this initiative reaffirmed my belief that if you put the right people in place and trust them, great things always happen,” he affirms.

“All leaders have to find their own niche. It is more about being yourself, but with skills. One cannot change one’s character or leadership style too much, but one can be aware of and adapt to every situation. All leaders need to have one thing in common: to have followers. I prefer to have followers that are inspired and motivated to perform their best. I very much believe in being an inspirational leader. To do this, I spend a lot of time engaging the teams that work for me, and always remain open, accessible, and approachable.”

Seah believes that, “All leaders have to find their own niche. It is more about being yourself, but with skills. One cannot change one’s character or leadership style too much, but one can be aware of and adapt to every situation. All leaders need to have one thing in common: to have followers. I prefer to have followers that are inspired and motivated to perform their best. I very much believe in being an inspirational leader. To do this, I spend a lot of time engaging the teams that work for me, and always remain open, accessible, and approachable.”

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