His career is one amazing journey. He got his B.Sc degree from University of Oregon US and held senior management positions throughout the US and Asia Pacific with companies like Allied Domecq, US Sprint, Gillette/Duracell Inc, Standard Chartered Bank, K-Mart Corp and Target Corp.
He was spotted & recruited by K-Mart in the States while he was still studying and started work the day he graduated. He later joined Target Corp also in the States. He narrowly missed a disaster during the 1991 Sierra Madre earthquake in California, which spurred his return to Malaysia. Here he worked at Diethlem covering brands like Duracell, Baygon, Schick etc. Later, Duracell merged worldwide with Gillette family to cover brands like Oral B, Parker, Waterman, Papermate, Braun and Gillette.
I met Andrew some 20 years ago when he joined Stanchart, and discovered he lived a stone throw from my house. Chris Werner Head Consumer Bank took the bold step of hiring a non-banker to head marketing. Andrew Cheong started his banking stint with a stubby pony tail and dynamic presentation style (no slides, but show & tell approach). He did a throw-back to the “Big Strong & Friendly” branding to rekindle consumer confidence during the economic downturn.
He left for US and worked briefly in the Silicon Valley, where he even rubbed shoulders with Steve Jobs (during his first turmoil with his board). When he returned to Kuala Lumpur, he joined Halim Saad at Time Dot Com.
Coffee Shop Battles.
His career as the GM Sales in Guinness Anchor was colourful & interesting. He introduced hand-held devices and technology to better manage sales and sales productivity. With it, stock control, sales forecasting, customer succession (when salespeople resigned) fell into place. In those days, the battle for market share was rested with the 25,000 coffee shops. His stories of the fight are endless, funny and unforgettable where “face” is important. No wonder he earned the title of “godson” in the industry. Many may remember the Anchor Smart Tap, the iconic beer dispensing machines, which he introduced in 2004.
I like this guy. He is a believer of data analytics. Don’t boil ocean. Let the data speak. Focus on the profitable dealers. Don’t rely on hear/say sales reports. Use technology to compute reliable data for decision making.
Market Share Battles.
I watched Andrew move from stout to phones expanding his career in Sony Mobile, Nokia and Samsung. At Nokia, he fought parallel imports with super service centres & quick turnarounds and worked with banks to offer extended payment programs.
The Samsung story is inspirational. Andrew took the challenge to bring the android phone to become a top player in the market. This is a classic tipping point, like what Malcolm Gladwell talked about in his book.
First the product had stickiness. It was innovative and competed well with the iPhone. Its many features catered to a wider range of customer segments and was affordable.
The environment (context) was ripe, with the rise of K-pop & Korean drama series, and increased popularity of Hyundai cars & Korean electrical goods.
The online community was the maven that dissected & compared every feature and aspect of the Samsung phone. It created fans and followers.
Andrew, our “wizard” in sales management, brought in experienced & well-connected people who quickly & strategically expanded the distribution and dealer network. Under Andrew’s leadership, the sales force was driven with passion. With every success, the team was energized to do more.
Samsung went from 8% market share to 34% within 2.5 years.
This amazing man has a Midas touch, and turnaround every business he touched. I can see that he loves what he does. There is passion in his voice and his eyes light up. I am very lucky ‘cos he is helping me share his know how with SMEs. It is not surprising that he is sought after to consult for many projects. Keep going, Andrew!
“The DOers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry are both the thinker and DOer in one person.” Steve Jobs
“If you don’t love it, you’re going to fail.” Steve Jobs
“I don’t care about being right. I care about success and DOing the right thing.” Steve Jobs