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The New Asian Workforce: Who Will Take Charge?

1 June, 2018
6:30 pm
- 8:00 pm

The HR function as we know it is being radically disrupted due to technological change, new business models and the advent of novel subordinate functions like “business associates” replacing ‘employees’. Ride-hailing companies, and online food delivery companies often exemplify such developments.

The rise of self-employed workforces leaves a major part of the human value chain outside the traditional reach of employment legislation and the regulatory regime for corporations. Lifecycle changes and increased longevity add to the complexity of the challenge. As corporations seek to eliminate costs and liabilities; policymakers and civil society have to respond. The higher education sector too would have to consider what this challenge means to universities and lifelong learning.

China, India, and ASEAN constitute 3 rising Asian models of Human Development. As the centre of gravity of management shifts towards Asia, each of these 3 models needs to take responsibility for their human development principles and management practices, including purpose, treatment of people, management of relationships and ways of managing change.

Bob Aubrey and Sriven Naidu have argued in their recent THink contribution that this will require nothing less than the complete reinvention of HR. Syed Ali Abbas will join them on the panel to discuss “where we might be heading?” and “who will take charge?”



Dr Bob Aubrey

Chairman of the HR Committee of the European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore

Dr. Bob Aubrey has led an esteemed career as entrepreneur, writer, teacher, business consultant and representative of international institutions, with working experience in 25 countries on 6 continents.

He has published 9 management books on the theme of work, learning and human development including Measure of Man: Leading Human Development McGraw Hill (2015). He has also written numerous research reports and white papers for international organizations.

As a consultant Bob has set up leadership and high potential programmes in Europe and Asia and developed global organisations for several companies. He developed his own company through the cycle of start-up to internationalisation and exit, and has guided other start-ups through the IPO process.

Bob Aubrey is active in pro bono work: he is currently Chairman of the HR Committee of the European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and teaches in several business schools and universities.

Bob has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Paris, an executive MBA from NEOMA Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California.


Mr Syed Ali Abbas

Group HR Director, Global Fashion Group

Syed Ali Abbas is the Group HR Director for Global Fashion Group (GFG). In this role, he provides corporate HR leadership for the group globally and serves as a strategic advisor to the 5 member companies: Dafiti in South America, Lamoda in Eastern Europe, Namshi in Middle East, The Iconic in Australia / New Zealand and Zalora in Asia. Together, the group is the leading growth markets fashion e-commerce company in the world with more than EUR 1 billion in 2017 revenue and nearly 10,000 people serving customers across 24 markets.

Abbas has 18 years of HR experience. Prior to GFG, he served in senior roles including Executive Vice President of HR for Lazada Group, Chief HR Officer for the Pacnet Group and Executive Director of HR for AT&T Inc. Abbas is currently a member of the Executive Council of the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI). He is also a nominated Subject Matter Expert in Strategic HRM for the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).


Mr Sriven Naidu

Director, Programme Development and Partnership, Singapore Management University

Sriven is Director, Programme Development and Partnerships (Master of Tri-Sector Collaboration) at SMU. The programme emphasises 3 key competencies for achieving impact – scenario-planning and other futures methodologies, thriving in non-linear complex adaptive systems, and effective implementation through collaborative leadership. Sriven’s role includes developing an ecosystem for research, education and thought-leadership that enhances the sustainability of organisations and industry sectors – while addressing select societal priorities captured in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Currently, Sriven is also researching Science & Technology Policy at University College London – where his PhD focuses on adaptive policy-making to enhance outcomes from interactions between academia, industry, and government.

Sriven writes for Globalfocus (the magazine of the European Foundation for Management Development), the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, and the Druk Journal.

Sriven is also a fellow at The HEAD Foundation.


Admission is free.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the speaker in this talk are their own and do not represent the opinions of The HEAD Foundation.


1 June, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


The HEAD Foundation
20 Upper Circular Road The Riverwalk #02-21 058416 Singapore + Google Map


The HEAD Foundation
+ 65 6672 6160