It was a privilege to meet up with Dato’ Ngiam Foon after 30+ years. Frank Smilovic, Mat Rani, Daniel Tan and I collaborated with him to set up American Express Travel Services by Mayflower Corporate Travel. He taught me everything I know about corporate travel & booking. I thought he was incredible in those days, being very open minded, flexible and innovative. He still is.
After 15 years at Mayflower Group, he left to be CEO of PST/BCD Travel (previously known as “Peter Stuyvesant” Travel) and Asia Experience & Europcar (all in the same travel group). He was also an independent Senior Director & Chairman of the Audit & Risk Committee of SMTRACK Berhad, a KLSE listed company. He was much sought after, in the industry, and served as:
– Board member, Malaysian Tourism Board
– Co-Chairman, Focus Group on Tourism Services, Malaysia Services Development Council
– President (and other positions), Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA)
– Industry Advisory Board Member, Sunway University
When he saw the onset of digital disruption in the travel industry, he moved to 2 non traditional travel organizations, as CEO, Circlic Interactive Tourism and later, to do business development for Innstant Travel
He was part of the digital marketing collaboration team with China’s Alitrip (division of Alibaba) and Tourism Malaysia to sell directly to the end consumers in China. Separately, he worked on a Malaysia-China JV sport event supported by our government. Both these projects were under the Belt & Road initiative. Circlic is subsidiary of Salcon Berhad principally engaged in online social media.
Innstant Travel is an online wholesale division of the Group with a state of art booking engine, optimized for mobile and allows business-to-business travel booking, at very competitive pricing. There are more than 750,000 hotels to choose from.
Mid last year, he was appointed the Chief Transformation Officer of Apple Vacations & Conventions (AVC). In this role, he is tasked to digitalize the business for a consistent customer experience across all its distribution channels.
Super Achiever. Super Career.
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, says that genius is over-rated. Success is not just about innate ability.
It’s combined with a number of key factors such as opportunity, meaningful hard work (10,000 hours to gain mastery), and your cultural legacy. Random factors of chance, such as when and where you were born can influence the opportunities you have.
Dato’ Ngiam certainly had more than 10,000 hours of mastery. More importantly, he worked in a wide array of companies and helm many associations. This gave him a distinct advantage and made him a Master Extraordinaire.
He never stops learning. He asks for your views. He explores ideas, and keeps a very open mind. Always a few steps ahead. Quietly leading the way.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” John F. Kennedy
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker
“Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” Margaret Thatcher
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists…when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say: We did it ourselves.” Lao Tzu
Kudos to this incredible gentleman, who has made so many things happen in his career, and wishing him the best in his latest role.