CEO feels honoured to lead a heritage company

TO succeed, a person would need to take some calculated risks in his career, said F & N Holdings Bhd CEO Tan Ang Meng. 

“He also needs to diversify his knowledge and get into areas that he may not be comfortable with. Otherwise, he may find himself in the same position now as he was 20 years ago,” he said. 

Tan's philosophy in life is, in the course of his career, to try and learn one good trait from each one of his bosses. One of the things he learned is the importance of being “big hearted.''  

“To rise to the top, we must also try to look at things from other people’s perspective and help them rise above themselves. We must give our employees an opportunity to develop and be promoted,” he stressed. 

Going forward, Tan sees leading F & N as quite a challenge.  

Tan Ang Meng

“We are at a stage where we need to expand the group and may be going out of our traditional areas,” he said.  

He added that it was a more difficult task to grow a business than run an existing one as more risks needed to be taken care of.  

This is especially in the case of moving into new areas which the company may not be fully competent at or have knowledge of. However, Tan remains unfazed.  

“The next few years will be exciting,” he said, adding that he felt very honoured and privileged to be given the opportunity to lead a company whose heritage dated back 120 years.  

A self-confessed workaholic, he comes across as a person who is very dedicated to his work.  

“That is my hobby or interest. It is a double bonus for myself to do something that I enjoy and get paid for it,” he said. 

Another plus point of being in the food and beverage industry, according to Tan, is the fact that he gets to enjoy the product that he is selling. 

A certified public accountant by profession, Tan was employed in PriceWaterhouseCoopers from 1975 to 1981 before joining Guinness Anchor Bhd in 1983. 

In 1991, he was transferred to Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd (APB) or Malayan Breweries (M) Sdn Bhd, at the time. For the next 10 years, Tan held several positions overseas.  

He spent five years in Papua New Guinea, first as finance manager and later as general manager/director of SP Brewery Group. He also spent five years in Singapore as finance director of APB before moving on to become the general manager of APB Singapore. 

His last position before being appointed CEO of F & N in 2001 was as regional director with responsibilities for brewery operations in Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and China.  

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