IT'S no wonder that Chan Kok Seong is the successful banker that he is today.
The United Overseas Bank (M) Bhd (UOB) chief executive officer's guiding philosophy in life is to always do his very best but be prepared for the worst.
“Avoid the natural tendency of doing the bare minimum and hoping for the best – that, I believe, is the secret of success. If we do that, there will be less disappointment in life and if we are not disappointed, we can work better,” he said.
Besides sheer hard work, Chan is of the opinion that lady luck also played a part in his success.
“I am a very lucky guy to have been successful in my career and to be healthy and able.
“Throughout my career, I have been extremely fortunate to have a sequence of inspirational mentors to guide me.
“The professionalism, enthusiasm and work ethics of my superiors in Bank Negara, Arab-Malaysian Merchant Bank (AMMB) and UOB had inspired me to be what I am today,” he said.
Chan's banking career started in Bank Negara upon graduation from Universiti Malaya with an accountancy degree under the central bank's scholarship programme.
He had served the central bank for over 8 years and was primarily involved in policy development for prudential control and banking practices, including the development of regulatory framework for new financial instruments.
He then had a 3-year tenure with AMMB, where he was involved in the development of risk management policies, procedures and system for treasury activities.
In 1998, Chan moved to UOB to head the risk management division.
He was subsequently reassigned as head of commercial lending (listed corporate) and then as head of commercial lending division II before being appointed CEO in 2003.
Despite scaling to such heights in his career, Chan's motivation in his life and work is the thought that the best is yet to come.
“There is still a lot more to learn and experience and to create value for customers and staff,” he said, adding that he derived much satisfaction in adding value and creating new products for customers and adding value for the bank's shareholders.
Chan also credits his wife and daughter with his success.
“The encouragement and moral support from my wife, who is my university sweetheart, has been tremendous through the years. I could not have done it without her. My beloved wife and daughter are unquestionably my twin pillars of strength,” he said.
A thorough and hands-on person who spends pretty long hours in the office, Chan also believes in playing hard.
“I jog and work out in the gym with my wife, play squash with my best friend, and golf with my buddies on weekends. Besides sports, I also enjoy travelling to marvel at the natural wonders of the world,” he said.
A fan of the great outdoors, Chan is also a diver and likes jungle trekking.
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