INTHEBLACK April 2022 - Magazine - Page 33
STORY CHRIS SHEEDY
PHOTOGRAPHY CALVIN SIT
T H E C O V I D -19 PA N D E M I C H AS R E P R E S E N T E D
T H E G R E AT E S T D I S R U P T I O N A G E N E R AT I O N O F
B U S I N E S S P R O F E S S I O N A L S H AS FA C E D . F O R
G I L B E R T H O F C PA , T H E S U C C E S S F U L
M A N A G E M E N T O F H O N G KO N G - B AS E D
C O N G L O M E R AT E N W S H O L D I N G S H AS B E E N A L L
A B O U T S T I C K I N G T O T H E L O N G -T E R M S T R AT E G Y.
AT A G L A N C E
Gilbert Ho is chief
operating officer of
Hong Kong-based NWS
Holdings, responsible for
NWS Holdings is a
manages four core
toll roads infrastructure
and life insurance.
Diversity resulting from
a strategic decision
made in 2018 has helped
NWS Holdings perform
well during the
xecutives in many organisations that specialise
in a particular industry, sector or field of practice
have had a difficult few years. As the pandemic
has torn business-as-usual to shreds, they
have had to relearn almost everything in their area of
business, from supply chain management to customer
expectations and remote people management.
Those in leadership positions within conglomerates,
like Gilbert Ho FCPA, chief operating officer of Hong
Kong-based NWS Holdings, faced an added challenge.
Rather than relearning all parts of a single industry,
they have been responsible for the fortunes of diverse
businesses across numerous sectors. Ho’s charge, NWS
Holdings, spans aviation and life insurance, toll roads
and construction, logistics, healthcare and more.
Change over the past two years has been persistent
and unyielding. Some companies within the NWS
Holdings portfolio have blossomed, while others have
wilted. Entirely new skill sets have been required for
some, while long-term strategic plans for others have
had to be accelerated.
The secret to success – and there has been great
success, with NWS Holdings reporting an attributable
operating profit boost from just over HK$3.5 billion
(A$628 million) in the 2020 financial year to more than
HK$5.2 billion (A$933 million) – has a lot to do with
the optimisation of the business model. It is a strategy
that was set long before the pandemic took hold.
“The overall strategic direction of how to drive the
company did not change because of the pandemic,” says
Ho, also deputy chair of the Greater Bay Area Committee
for CPA Australia, as well as non-executive director with
several infrastructure and manufacturing businesses.
intheblack.cpaaustralia.com.au April 2022 33