Mr. Taizo Son joins Golden Equator as a special advisor to the group.
Mr. Son is the Founder of Mistletoe, Inc., the collective impact collective that facilitates the growth of startups and venture companies in the United States, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. As a serial entrepreneur, Mr. Son has extensive experience in investing and incubating IT driven venture companies in Asia. Mr. Son also serves as board member and advisor to various global IT companies.
Prior to Mistletoe, Mr. Taizo founded MOVIDA JAPAN in 2009 with the vision to create a Silicon Valley-like venture ecosystem in East Asia by the year 2030. In 2002, he founded Gungho Online, one of the most successful online gaming companies in Japan. The firm went through an IPO in 2005.
Mr. Son strongly believes that by nurturing entrepreneurs, the world can be transformed into a better place for future generations.
Shirley Crystal Chua is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Golden Equator Group.
Apart from overseeing the overall direction of the company, Shirley manages the group’s wealth management arm—Golden Equator Wealth. As a trusted advisor of ultra-high net-worth families and individuals for over a decade, she has successfully leveraged her extensive networks and vast experience in the wealth management sphere to master the art of business architecture.
A Founding Partner of the Golden Equator Technology and Innovation Fund, she utilises her proficiency in the private equity, venture capital and fund management arenas to display a natural flair for astute financial forecasting and business planning. Her strong entrepreneurial track record in developing business strategies as well as successfully incubating new businesses has led to her opinions being sought out by professionals across various industries.
Golden Equator has grown within and beyond the financial services industry since its founding, a testament to Shirley’s natural flair and aptitude for charting out the course of companies at different stages of their growth.
Deeply involved in entrepreneurial and startup communities, Shirley is highly regarded as a thought leader and proficient angel investor by both her peers as well as among industry experts. Always one to share her valued knowledge and expertise, Shirley participates extensively as a mentor and educator in various courses, conferences and events with an unwavering keen focus on innovation.
Shirley started her career at American Express International, before spending 8 years with Citibank across various positions. As a Director, she handled high net-worth clients from Asia and Europe, as well as mentored new bankers and supervised a team of experienced relationship managers. She also received numerous awards for her outstanding performance and contributions to the company, and was instrumental in the establishment of the bank’s branch at Paragon in Singapore.
Shirley graduated from National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences, majoring in Economics and Southeast Asian Studies.
Grace’s broad experience in client services, regulatory compliance, project management, as well as operational roles in global private banks and investment consultancy, positions her to manage the fast-growing business of Golden Equator. Being part of the founding team of the group gives her good perspective on the exciting and challenging journey of startup companies.
As the Chief Operating Officer of Golden Equator, Grace leverages her ability to interact with and cater to a wide spectrum of cultural and team dynamics to successfully identify and align the company’s overall business goals.
Prior to joining Golden Equator, Grace was with Morgan Stanley Asia where she was a Business Manager of Private Wealth Management. There, she supervised a team of Private Bankers and Client Associates relating to policies and client management. She started her career in Citibank as a Management Associate, before moving on to Cambridge Associates Asia, and the Global Wealth Management arm of Merrill Lynch International Bank.
Grace graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Management from Singapore Management University, majoring in Finance and Economics.
As Group Corporate Communication lead, Chin provides strategic counsel and oversight for all aspects of internal and external communication for the group and its businesses.
Chin joined with an expertise in reputation building for financial services firms, underpinned by his degree in Finance and Corporate Communication and experience as an Investor Relations consultant.
Before Golden Equator, Chin was at Edelman, where he led several client accounts and rapidly emerged as one of the financial services experts in the company. Chin also led the firm’s corporate volunteering programme and green initiative, Citizenship, and is one of the founding members of Edelman’s Diversity Alliance, an internal initiative to champion diversity and inclusion.
Prior to joining Edelman, Chin worked at WeR1 Consultants, a leading Asian investor relations consultancy.
Marisa Hjelle Chan is the general legal counsel of the Golden Equator Group. Her extensive experience in the industry sees her manage and provide advice on legal matters on both the group level as well as to individual business units.
Before Golden Equator, Marisa was at Wee, Ramayah & Partners, as a legal associate in the conveyancing department.
Prior to that, Marisa was an Attorney At Law at Mandel, Katz and Brosnan LLP, where she represented clients in the purchase and sale of distressed loans and ancillary matters. At the firm, she also provided assistance in loan restructuring and post-sale loan enforcement, representing major investment banks, hedge funds and other investment entities.
Graduating from the National University of Singapore, Marisa was called to the Bar at the Supreme Court of Singapore in 1999 as an Advocate and Solicitor.
Daren provides strategic guidance to transform Golden Equator Capital’s portfolio companies into full-fledged businesses while facilitating their expansion. His diverse business management experience allows him to tap on his astute acumen to oversee deal flow investments into technology and innovation as well as emerging companies.
Daren’s role sees him collaborating with a multitude of startups, founders and innovators, using his expertise to assist in actualising their dreams and visions. His track record in working effectively with clients as well as his ability to transform companies has set him apart from others in the business management and strategic planning spheres.
Before Golden Equator Capital, Daren occupied senior management roles at Nikon, eBay, element14 and Daymen Group, where he worked with regional partners and industry leaders to drive go-to-market strategies, managing both top-line and market expansion with aggregate amounts of over US$200 million in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region.
With over 12 years of experience in analysing potential real estate investment deals in Asia as well as managing investment projects across the region, Steven oversees the company’s property development investments for the Golden Equator Development Fund. The Fund invests in residential, commercial, retail and mixed development projects.
Steven has had extensive experience in the finance industry, having held the roles of Finance Manager and Financial Consultant across regional as well as international firms.
Apart from his experience in finance and accounting as well as property development, Steven also brings to the team his broad and in-depth expertise in business management. A seasoned entrepreneur, Steven was previously the co-founder and Chairman of Hakuyoton Seafood International Trading.
Jacob started his career as a management consultant at Softbank. He worked for various government and commercial banks in Korea as a corporate strategy and acquisition specialist before joining Korea Investment Holdings, the largest non-banking financial holdings company in Korea. During his 10-year tenure at KIH, he served as CEO of KIARA Advisors Pte. Ltd., the alternative investment arm of KIH based in Singapore, managing multiple hedge funds and a private equity fund covering Asian market.
He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley and a M.B.A. from Booth Business School, University of Chicago. He is a CFA charter holder.
Adam is a digitally focused expert who has advised numerous tech start-ups and assisted with the launch of multiple businesses across Singapore and South-East Asia.
His skill-sets revolve around his expertise in digital strategy, communications, and business workflows. He is fully adept at taking on the role of a CMO, helping spot market opportunities or delving into processes to find and remedy weaknesses in a company’s business model.
Apart from running multiple businesses of his own, Adam has also facilitated impressive growth figures for several companies during various stages of their life-cycle.
Adam spent several years in the Middle East, helping to market and grow the digital arms of media companies before moving to Singapore to work in marketing and communications, where his reputation has led to regular invitations to appear as a pundit on TV.
With strong expertise in the operational and risk management aspects of various industries, Jeremy provides businesses with insights and guidance on building a strong foundation to support growth and expansion plans. Jeremy sits on the Board of Campore Group which has main business activities in Cambodia, engaging in the import & export of Luxury Goods, Automobiles, F&B as well as Land Development. Maintaining successful partnerships with renowned companies and international brands, Campore aims to grow into a multi-faceted conglomerate.
Jeremy started his career at Standard Chartered Bank, later moving on to Merrill Lynch International Bank and Barclays Capital.
Raymond began his career as an Analyst at Deutsche Bank in Japan, and spent time at notable financial institutions including ING Barings Securities, Standard & Poor’s, and Barclays Capital. He was most recently with Nomura Group, working with various investment and asset management divisions across Japan and Korea on real estate and infrastructure deals.
Raymond likes soccer and was a heavy player of winning eleven and soccer TOTO. After having kids, he couldn’t spend much time. Instead, he is now waiting to play together with his kids in the near future. Raymond is fluent in English, Korean and Japanese.
Quah Soon Hong has over 20 years of experience in executive and senior management roles across operations, business support, sales & marketing, business development and market expansion.
Soon Hong’s specialties cover project and operational management in both the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors. He is constantly on the lookout for new technological innovations, digital ideas and data driven analytics to drive efficiencies and productivity gains.
Prior to joining Asia Finance, Soon Hong was a co-founder of the Kando Group, providing lifestyle merchants with an alternative and innovative sales channel. Before that, he held the role of General Manager at First Advantage Pte Ltd., where he successfully carried out regional support for background check solutions to financial institutions across Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Malaysia, India and Singapore.
Cheryl is the Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of SPECTRUM.
She spearheads the growth of the company, focusing on deepening SPECTRUM’s network across its identified seven strategic groups that include innovators, backers, enablers and G-level agencies. Cheryl draws on her strong track record in business transformation through innovation – she has more than two decades of experience in pioneering positions with companies that have undergone transformation including rebranding, restructuring and M&A, and she brings her keen insights in translating vision to brand recognition to SPECTRUM.
Prior to SPECTRUM, Cheryl held senior management roles at companies in industries such as private banking, real estate and luxury retail. At Mapletree, she supported the overall master planning process of the iconic Temasek Holdings mixed-mega commercial development project, Harbourfront and Vivo City, overseeing tenancy planning, leasing, and business development. She then went on to play a lead role in brand innovation and market penetration in Asia for S.A. Desco after its acquisition of Mauboussin and RBS Coutts after its acquisition of Coutts (Asia). Thereafter, in 2009, she helped grow BSI Bank’s Asia HQ office into a full-fledged boutique private bank – from 30 to 300 staff – through effective branding and marketing programme driving business opportunities.
Fueled by her entrepreneurial spirit and passion in the lifestyle and hospitality spheres, Cheryl co-founded 1-Rochester Group in 2005. Today, it is one of the leading lifestyle groups and F&B players in Singapore.
A passionate believer in giving back to society, Cheryl focuses her philanthropic efforts on children’s charities with active participation in key fundraising initiatives locally. She is also a Board Member of the CEO Philanthropy Advisory Council, KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital, as well as Food from the Heart, a non-profit food distribution programme in Singapore.
Apart from being a Portfolio Mentor to Golden Equator, Mr. Stephen Chong is active in private equity investments and holds directorships in several Singapore and Asia-based companies. He has over 20 years of experience setting-up, managing and re-structuring companies in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. He has been based in China, HK, Vietnam, Hungary and Australia and is thus familiar operating in diverse, cross-cultural environments.
His past appointments include establishing and managing operations abroad for multi-national and local companies including Singapore Technologies, JIT Electronics, Flextronics and Hyflux. Stephen was also Executive Director at Raffles Education Corporation Ltd., the largest for-profit education provider in the Asia-Pacific listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange where he was responsible for the Group’s Corporate Finance, Enterprise Risk Management and IT functions, M&A activities, new start-ups, the restructuring of unprofitable entities and all ex-China operations.
He is also on the Board of several SMEs and has been helping such companies grow by providing M&A expertise, access to debt & equity financing, and when required, appropriate advice & support in managing team development.
Stephen holds a BE (Civil) from the Royal Military College (UNSW), Australia. He is also a graduate of the Royal Military College of Science (Shrivenham), UK, has a GDFM from the Singapore Institute of Management and an M.Sc (Finance) from City University of New York.
Dr. Thomas Choong is a portfolio Mentor to Golden Equator. Known for his particular expertise in the technology sphere, he is also an angel investor, business advisor and a partner of several firms in Singapore.
Operating under Waylion Advisory & Consulting, which he started in 2008, Thomas has helped numerous firms with funding, strategic marketing, business advisory, development and consulting projects. Some of these firms include Brandtology (now renamed iSentia Brandtology), TAC Financial (Thierry Apoteker Consulting from France), Elipva Ltd, Ohanae Inc, Kidotech, ArrowCrest Technologies as well as the Singapore Sports Hub amongst others. Prior to this, from 2000 to 2007, he started and ran several tech startups in Asia with investments from ST Telemedia and the Lippo Group. Thomas also served on the board of M Dream Inworld, a HK stock exchange listed company with a focus on online gaming for the Chinese market.
Adding to his diversity of interests, in 2005, he co-founded Xi Yan, the first contemporary Chinese private dining restaurant in Singapore and ASEAN that has since continued to win numerous awards each year with an international following. In 2014, Xi Yan Singapore extended its investment into Xi Yan Penthouse HK and Xi Yan Shaw- a modern Chinese bistro. In 2008, Thomas was a seed investor of Brandtology, helping in the development of its business. The company was acquired in 2011 by an Australian Media conglomerate with the company being renamed to iSentia and a successful IPO in 2014.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Thomas was particularly known for his pioneering efforts in developing businesses and markets in the emerging technological sphere. From 1984 to 1999, he held various senior management positions with Sun Microsystems-iPlanet (a Sun Microsystems Inc and AOL/Netscape Alliance), IBM in ASEAN, Convex Computer and Apollo Computer in the Asia Pacific.
Thomas also served as an adjunct professor with the National University of Singapore (Engineering faculty) from 1997 to 2000. He served on the judging panel for S[email protected] – a business plan competition organised by NUS – from 2003 until 2013. In 2010/2011, he was a member of the Executive Global Network and chaired the EGN Young Leaders Network group. Thomas has served as a board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation (a charity that supports children with life threatening illnesses) and currently is a board member of the YMCA (where he also chaired the YMCA Charity Golf from 2010 to 2013 and co-chaired the Education Committee since 2013).
Thomas graduated from the University of Bath with a BSc Engineering (First Class Honours) and a Ph.D. under the UK Science and Engineering Research Council scholarship. He lived in the UK for more than 8 years and worked at Ford Motor Company as a control systems analyst after his graduation. To date, he has published and contributed to more than 40 conferences papers and articles.
Mr. Ho is a Portfolio Mentor at Golden Equator. He is a leading property consultant in Singapore with over 35 years of experience in the real estate industry.
Unrivalled in the Singapore property scene, Mr. Ho has an impressive track record in residential development consultancy and marketing, not to mention auction and valuation of all types of properties. Mr. Ho has been a licensed auctioneer since 1987. He has held key management positions, holding responsibilities for a range of portfolios including valuation, industrial and residential sales, investment sales and auction and is pivotal in the establishment of major investment deals.
Mr. Ho holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of DTZ Tie Leung (SEA) Pte. Ltd., and is a member of the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA).
Mr. Ho is a Fellow of both the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (UK) and the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers.
One of the few Singaporeans who has far surpassed celebrity status, Dick Lee has evolved into a household name both within the country as well as throughout the region. A singer, songwriter, performer, composer and successful entrepreneur, his natural flair, creative talent and enigmatic personality has seen him gain national icon status over the past several decades.
From his self-composed first album, Life Story, in 1974 to Singapore’s SG50 signature song Our Singapore, Dick Lee’s talent has been woven through the very fabric of the country’s past and present. His contribution of Home in 1997, sung and unofficially tagged by many as our national song to this very day, is testament to his talent that has stood the test of time. His musical output in Asia includes 27 solo albums and 18 musicals, besides many hit songs written for Asian stars like Jackie Cheung, Andy Lau, Sandy Lam, Anita Mui, Miyazawa of the Boom as well as Singapore’s very own Stephanie Sun, highlighting his span of influence and exposure throughout the region.
Dick Lee has also proved to be highly successful on the entrepreneurial front. From 1982 to 1990, he ran his own events company Runway Productions, which specialised in fashion and tourism events. He co-founded talent management company Music & Movement and also had a hand in the creation of Boom Boom Room, a successful cabaret, which launched the career of popular comedian Kumar. In his capacity as Creative Director he has led events like the National Day Parade and Christmas Light Up.
Among his extensive and exhaustive list of accolades and recognitions, Dick Lee received Singapore’s highest cultural award in 2004, the Cultural Medallion. In 2013, he was conferred the honour of being named a Steinway Artist by the world-renowned piano company Steinway & Sons. He was the first Asian artiste in the pop genre to be bestowed the title.
Suguna Madhavan is a respected global business and brand architect with a successful track record for charting new enterprise across diverse industries. She has over 25 years of strategic new product concept, market development and commercial operational experience spanning early stage start-ups to full commercial businesses.
Suguna is Founder/Director of Firesong Initiatives Pte Ltd, a specialised business and management consultancy she founded in 2005, with a focus on innovation and startup development from incubation to commercial launch and strategic growth. Through Firesong Initiatives and via highly selective mentorship and advisory board roles, Suguna works symbiotically with both individuals/founders as well as companies and has been strategically involved in a number of exceptional new concepts and businesses across different market segments spanning luxury, audio, mobile technology, and the digital space.
Since 2012, Suguna has collaborated with her long-time associate Frank Nuovo of DesignStudioNuovo (DSN), Los Angeles, in the strategic commercial development of a suite of cutting-edge new concepts, including the development of DatZing a mobile locational discovery application. She is currently engaged as Global Strategy Advisor to DSN, a design & concept incubator.
Between 2007 to December 2011, seconded as President, APAC & Middle East and dual-hatting as Global Chief Marketing Officer, Suguna played an instrumental role from inception in Steinway Lyngdorf, an innovative audio start-up which launched the world’s first fully digital luxury sound system. In parallel, in 2009, she was Asian Ambassador and Global Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer of the newly formed company Faberge Services Ltd, which expanded the revered Faberge heritage into exquisite contemporary jewelry for connoisseurs.
In 1999, as a key member of the global founding team of Vertu, the world’s first luxury mobile phone, she led the initial global brand development towards funding and played a strategic role in the global commercial development. She also spearheaded Vertu’s business operations across the Asia Pacific region from incubation through to full commercial operations until 2003 when she embarked on a sabbatical.
As Regional Director, Communications for Nokia Asia Pacific, she spearheaded the development of teams, processes and programmes across 12 markets from 1996 to 2000, and was credited for being part of the core team that contributed to the development of Nokia into the World’s number one cellular brand in terms of brand equity and market share. Prior to 1996, Suguna held several roles in strategic marketing and business consulting, sales, and the academic sector.
In the last decade, Suguna has been actively involved in charitable initiatives including the support of the arts and community services. She served as Board Director for Singapore Repertory Theatre, a leading English Theatre company, over 2 terms from 2010 to February 2016, has worked with Beautiful People, a volunteer community group that mentors young girls on probation through life-transitions and helps re-integrate them into society. Always one to support a good cause, her fundraising efforts include serving as a committee member for British Theater Playhouse’s 2016 Art for Charity fundraiser, benefiting the International Committee for the Red Cross.
A yoga practitioner for 30 years, she professes a long-standing love for the Scottish highlands and single-malt whiskies. She counts hill-walking, writing prose and poetry, reading, and the enjoyment of the arts amongst her hobbies. Along the way, she picked up a Bachelor of Arts (National University of Singapore), a post Graduate Diploma in Teaching, a Master of Science, International Marketing (University of Strathclyde, UK), and completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at INSEAD, Fontainebleau.
Mr. Atsushi Taira is currently the Representative Director and Chief Growth Officer of Mistletoe Inc, a venture capital firm that facilitates the growth of startups and venture companies in United States, Japan and India.
From 2011 to 2016, Mr. Taira was the Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Softbank Holdings. Pte.Ltd. in New Delhi, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises Limited and Softbank Group Corp with an active participation in the mobile internet ecosystem. He was also a member of the Board for InMobi and Hike Messenger for 4 years, while concurrently holding the positions of Chief Planning and Optimisation officer in Brightstar Corp and Chief Strategy Officer in SB Product Group, both under the Softbank Group.
Prior to that, Mr. Taira was a Chief Executive Officer at My Space Japan from 2008 to 2012 and CMO at Yahoo! Japan from 2003 to 2007, both companies subsidiaries of the Softbank Group.
Mr. Taira’s decorated portfolio also saw him fill the position of Director of Marketing to Richemont Japan for almost 3 years. He managed the marketing and product strategies for multiple luxury brands such as Piaget and Panerai, to name a few.
Mr. Taira’s experience across his prestigious positions at various establishments makes him an invaluable addition to our board of Portfolio Mentors.
Mr. Patrick Tan is a Portfolio Mentor to Golden Equator. He is also a business development consultant and representative of several international firms, with a successful career spanning nearly four decades.
Patrick is currently responsible for the managing and running of PEL Pte. Ltd., a wholesale trading company incorporated in 1994, specialising in the direct sourcing and sale of Tahitian Pearls. A natural at maintaining customer relationships, he has developed a wide network of business contacts and customers during his time in the fine jewellery industry, proving to be an invaluable member of any organisation he joins.
With experience in the direct sourcing and sale of Tahitian Pearls to customers, he was a representative of Okuda Pearls from 1988-2008, also running a business in the wholesale pearl manufacturing space.
Patrick now focuses more on bespoke sourcing of rare and valuable Tahitian Pearls for his valued customers.
Prior to his pearl business, Patrick was involved in the fire-fighting and security systems business. He was the director of Fire Safety Consultations from 1976 – 1988 and oversaw the full-scale design, supply and installation, testing and commission work related to it.
Mr. Kelvin Tan is a Portfolio Mentor to Golden Equator. With his particular expertise in investments into Portfolio Companies, he is also currently the Managing Director of GBE Holdings Pte Ltd, a private investment vehicle with a focus on Asia, based in Singapore. Prior to this, Kelvin held senior management positions with companies such as AETOS Security Management Pte Ltd, PSA International Ltd, and Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd.
Kelvin is a member of the Singapore Institute of Directors and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants of Singapore. Mr. Tan also sits on the Board of several private and public listed companies such as Viking Offshore, Marine Limited and IreitGlobal.
Kelvin was a Local Merit Scholar (Police Service) and graduated with a Bachelor of Accountancy (First Class Honours) from the National University of Singapore. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the same university and attended the Programme for Management Development at the Harvard Business School.
Ivan Tham is a Portfolio Mentor at Golden Equator, with close to 30 years of experience in the investment advisory and fund management sectors.
Prior to joining Golden Equator Capital, Ivan was the Head of Funds Management at Kuwait Finance House in Singapore. Besides managing the company’s funds and business development, he also set up fund management operations that included a risk and compliance as well as processes manual.
Ivan was also a Senior Fund Manager for City of London Investment Group PLC, a firm specialising in fund of funds investment strategies, where he managed emerging markets closed-end funds and developed and managed new equity funds. He was also in charge of business development that included marketing to existing and potential clients as well as advisors.
As the Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer of Hong Leong Group Asset Management, Ivan was in charge of reshaping, restructuring, development, branding, marketing, strategy and management of the assets and funds of the corporation.
The head of Investment Advisory at the Private Banking branch of OCBC Singapore, Ivan organised the division’s marketing, setting up of Clients’ Risk Profiles and Asset Allocation Models as well as the introduction and selection of 3rd party products. He was also successful in raising the revenues of the branch four-fold.
Holding the title of Vice President of the Bankers Trust Fund Management in Sydney, Australia as well as Singapore for four consecutive years, Ivan was a member of the team whose International Equity Fund was rated the top foreign stock fund and awarded a 5 stars rating by Morningstar (a rating agency in the US) for 5 years, a testament to his skills in bottom-up investing indexation.
Ivan also held the role of Senior Fund Manager at Rothschild Asset Management, where he managed the Group’s (including funds from the Rothschild offices in United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore) equity, cash and fixed income investments in Southeast Asia.
With his extensive experience in the managing of institutional finances for both the public and private equity sectors, Ivan understands business processes and is extremely apt at analysing companies and making sound investment calls. His sense of responsibility towards the trust placed in him by investors has been paramount to his success.
Over the span of his illustrious career, Ivan has gathered valuable experience in the finance industry across the sectors of investing with strict adherence to Islamic principles and structures, options, fixed income, warrants, bonds as well as private equity. He has also displayed his proven ability to adopt different styles of investing across various asset classes, using both top-down as well as bottom-up approaches.
Ivan has also been invited to participate in interviews with both leading newspapers as well as other media agencies, a testament to his standing in the industry.
Ivan received his Master of Business Administration (Finance and International Business) from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA.
Barney Ong is a Portfolio Mentor to the Golden Equator Group. A Chartered Engineer with the UK Engineering Council, Barney has more than 40 years of global experience in the Oil & Gas industry, working with major energy companies such as Shell, Schlumberger, TransCanada Pipelines and Qatargas (former RasGas legacy).
Mr. Ong’s in-depth experience revolves around business development, opportunity capture and realisation as well as engineering in the Oil & Gas industry, particularly across the Middle East region.
One of the earliest employees of RasGas in 1997, then a newly established Qatar-based LNG manufacturing company, Mr. Ong played a pivotal role in the setting up of the company, which has since grown to become amongst the largest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and helium suppliers in the world.
During his time at RasGas, Mr. Ong was instrumental in the design as well as successful commissioning and start-up of the firm’s facilities. These included seven LNG as well as two gas-processing and helium manufacturing plants. The recent LNG Trains are amongst the largest and most modern LNG plants in the world.
Mr. Ong’s illustrious career has seen him successfully lead major contract negotiations and the development of various mega-value projects that have since materialised into highly profitable businesses. He has also been selected to lead or partake in multiple independent project reviews for mega investments in the Middle East region, which involved various investors across varying disciplines.
Until recently, Mr. Ong was responsible for a multi-discipline engineering team covering engineering design support, commissioning and start-up for new facilities that include two large gas-processing plants, a helium manufacturing plant and a waste water purification plant.
Olivier Crespin is a Portfolio Mentor at the Golden Equator Group. He is a digital professional with decades of varied business and operational positions in the financial industry across Europe, Latin America, Asia and North America.
Mr. Crespin is the recently appointed CEO of a new fully digital universal bank being established in the UAE by a strong group of shareholders.
From 2014 to mid-2017, Mr. Crespin was the Group Head of Digital Bank at DBS, where he set the strategy for and implemented DBS’s digital banking program. During his tenure in the role, DBS was awarded the World’s Best Digital Bank by finance magazine Euromoney at its annual awards for excellence – this was the first time an Asian Bank won a global award in any of the Euromoney existing categories.
In April 2016, under Mr. Crespin’s leadership, DBS launched Digibank in India, which has since grown its customer base from zero to over 2 million in less than two years.
In the years immediately prior to taking on the Group Head of Digital Bank role at DBS, Mr. Crespin was the Bank’s Chief Data Officer and COO for the Retail and Wealth businesses at DBS, while taking charge of the organisation as Group Head, he also managed the launch of DBS’s Singapore retail and wealth digital platforms.
Mr. Crespin is also the outgoing Chief Fintech Officer at CIMB Bank, which he joined in June 2017, reporting to the CEO, with the remit to build CIMB’s digital banking strategy and capabilities, as well as lead the bank’s fintech engagement and partnerships.
Outside of Mr. Crespin’s day jobs, he has also partnered in a number of entrepreneurial endeavours, including launching in his own capacity of a financial education site (asia.finance), which reached over 30,000 daily viewers within days after its launch.
Prior to joining DBS, Mr. Crespin was Citigroup’s Global Head of Operations for Private Banking. Concurrently, in that global role, he was International Head of Smith Barney’s Operations. During his career, Mr. Crespin has held different business and operational positions across Europe, Latin America, Asia and North America with Citigroup.
Mr. Crespin is well versed in English, French and Spanish and has wide international exposure. He was appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) in 2016. Mr. Crespin is also on the list of Asian Banker Leading Practitioners.
Mr. Crespin has a Master’s Degree in Law from University of Metz (France).