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Influential Brands puts leading Asian businesses in the spotlight

Top Asian leaders, employers and brands were honoured at Influential Brands 2019 Asia CEO Summit and Award ceremony

Influential Brands puts leading Asian businesses in the spotlight

Guest of honour, Mr Chuan Leekpai, alongside this year's winners. Photos: Influential Brands

Amidst much uncertainty in the global environment, the seventh edition of Influential Brands 2019 Asia CEO Summit and Award Ceremony was a timely reminder of the importance of good leaders and their ability to steer companies through a volatile landscape.

In collaboration with communications agency Neo Target, the summit was held in Bangkok. About 300 prominent C-suite executives attended the event. Over 100 leading companies from regional business destinations including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, India and China were represented.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of Asia’s Top CEO of the Year, Top Influential & Outstanding Brands, Top Employers, Influential Women and Top Outstanding Leader Awards. 

The event’s guest of honour was Mr Chuan Leekpai, President of the National Assembly of Thailand and the country’s former Prime Minister, and featured international sponsors Bentley and Pernod Ricard.

Mr Chatri Sityodtong of ONE Championship takes the stage for the keynote address.

At the ceremony, ONE Championship founder and chairman Mr Chatri Sityodtong delivered a keynote address that touched on his journey building a successful mixed martial arts enterprise in Asia, while AirAsia chief of People and Culture, Mr Varun Bhatia, shared his views on the mindset and skills required by business leaders to succeed in today’s digital age.


Mr Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia Group and Mr Tan Wang Cheow, founder and executive chairman of Food Empire, received the top accolade of the night when they were named Asia’s Top CEO and Top Chairman of this year respectively.

The winners: Top Chairman of the year, Mr Tan Wang Cheow of Food Empire (third from left) and Top CEO of the Year, Mr Tony Fernandes of AirAsia Group (third from right).

Said Mr Fernandes: “I am thrilled to be recognised as Asia's Top CEO by Influential Brands. I'd like to share this honour with our Allstars who have made AirAsia what it is today. Most companies don't realise that their biggest asset is often people; that they're only ever as good as those they employ. This is why for 18 years, I've been focused on doing my best for them, turning raw diamonds into diamonds, and I am proud to say that even with 24,000 staff, we're generally a happy company.”

Mr Tan added: "I am truly honoured and blessed to have been selected as Asia's Top Chairman for the Year. I would like to credit this to the hard work and dedication of my colleagues, CEO and management team, Business Heads, business partners and friends for making all this possible. Without their unwavering support all these years, through good and the bad times, Food Empire would not have achieved what it has today.”


The Summit also saw Influential Brands launch two platforms to promote business excellence: BrandAsia, a print and digital business magazine, and BrandzBeat, an online video channel.

Influential Brands' two new platforms: BrandAsia and BrandzBeat.

“As we celebrate business excellence in Asia, we are also reminded of our responsibility to build platforms for knowledge-sharing and we believe that sharing viewpoints of business leaders in BrandAsia coupled with video brand features at BrandzBeat will provide an insightful read for business leaders, influencers and decision makers across Asia,” said Mr Jorge Rodriguez, managing director of Influential Brands.


Some 18 companies were named 2019 Asia’s Top Employer Brands, an award they earned based primarily on employees’ feedback. The winners in this category were: AirAsia, Angliss Singapore, Celebrity Fitness, Circles.Life, Decathlon, Food Republic, Happy Fresh, Katrina Holdings, MindChamps, PAP Community Foundation, Pernod Ricard, Raffles Hotel, S&P, Swarovski, Techno-Sell, ThaiBev, Union Bank and Orchard Hotel Singapore.

Winners of the 2019 Asia’s Top Employers award.

"We are really proud to receive the Top Employer award as recognition for our commitment to staff training and career path development. Our common way of working, our values and leadership philosophy are building a deeper trust with our members and supporting more and more Indonesians in their pursuit of living a healthier lifestyle,” said Mr David Prosser, managing director of Celebrity Fitness Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the category of 2019 Asia’s Top Influential Brands saw 42 companies from Asia honoured. These enterprises were assessed based on consumer insights and surveys covering five countries and more than 5,000 respondents. The winners were: Acer, Adidas, Auntie Anne’s, AOX, Bangkok Bank, Beijing Tong Ren Tang, Café Amazon, Central Department Store, Central Food Hall, Chow Tai Fook, FamilyMart, Grab, Haagen Dazs, Harry’s, IG, IRVINS, Jobthai, Julie’s, Krispy Kreme, Lazada, LYN, Major Cineplex, Makro, MindChamps, Mister Donut, NTUC FairPrice, OPPO, Pet Lovers Centre, POKKA, Q&M, Rajdhevee Clinic, Redmart, Telkomsel, The Mall, Tops Market, Siam Center, Shiseido, Sunway Pyramid, SongHe, S&P, Taokaenoi, Watsons.

The list of winners from various categories.

“Being recognised as a Top Influential Brand for five consecutive years is an honour and a testament of the trust consumers have accorded us. This prestigious accolade spurs us on in our ongoing pursuit of service excellence as we continue to galvanise the industry to forge new standards and collectively strive to make lives better for the communities that we serve,” said Mr Seah Kian Peng, GCEO of FairPrice Group.

"Receiving the Top Employer Brand award is a huge honour for us. This award affirms the dedication of our passionate team who strives to challenge themselves for a greater tomorrow. It also honours the time and effort gone into building the foundation of our success. Anchored by the longstanding history as the leading distributor of gourmet brands, we will continue to uphold a diverse and inclusive workspace, foster a vibrant environment that contributes to employer branding and inspires more talents to join us," said Ms Angel Ding, managing director of Angliss Singapore.

Mr Cedric Retailleau, SEA managing director of Pernod Ricard Singapore, Mr Christian Westbeld, general manager of Raffles Hotel Singapore and Ms Michelle E. Rubio, CHRO of Union Bank, highlighted the importance of human capital and their constant efforts to develop their people holistically.

Another 10 fast-growing companies were awarded 2019 Asia’s Top Outstanding Brands: AIS, Government Savings Bank, Gunkul Engineering, Muang Thai Life, S31 Sukhumvit Hotel, Siam Kubota, Southeast Life Insurance, Thanatkorn International, TKK Corporation and Juewei.

In the individual categories, Mr Suriyon Sriorathaikul, managing director of Beauty Gems Group, and Ms Pavarisa Chumvigrant, CMO of FINN MOBILE, were recognised as Thailand’s Outstanding Leaders.

Winners of Thailand’s Influential Woman of the Year: Mrs Apaporn Kosolkul (second from left), media influencer of Thai Rath, and Ms Nualphan Lamsam (second from right), CEO of Muang Thai Insurance.

Meanwhile, two prominent women bagged the title of Thailand’s Influential Woman of the Year - Ms Nualphan Lamsam, CEO of Muang Thai Insurance, and Mrs Apaporn Kosolkul, media influencer of Thai Rath.

The winning individuals of this year's Asia CEO Summit.


Addressing the importance of taking a holistic approach in his speech, Mr Chuan, President of the National Assembly of Thailand and former Prime Minister, said: “The Influential Brands award is a recognition of your achievement and many of you worked hard to earn your success, which is the reason you are in the spotlight today. 

"I urge you to take up a holistic approach so that not only your business sustainability endures but prosperity will flow to your country and community as a whole.”

Mr Chuan Leekpai, President of the National Assembly of Thailand and the country’s former Prime Minister.

Giving an overview of the night’s winners, Mr Rodriguez said: “It is our honour to recognise C-suite executives who are highly respected in their industries and are committed to embrace new business models with a great sense of responsibility.

"We are also committed to recognise Top Influential Brands that have been able to delight consumers, gaining their trust and loyalty. Finally, the accolade of Top Employer is a true testament of companies’ efforts to implement best-in-class HR practices and build a great culture, making them the best employers to work for. We are looking forward to a greater engagement with ASEAN business leaders in 2020”.

For more information on the 2019 CEO Summits, visit


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