‘Five or 10 years later, we can be proud to be part of the team that built and delivered this’
chief executive officer of MTR Corporation
Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen, chief executive officer of MTR Corporation (MTRC), began his career in Britain, where he received the main part of his education and became an accountant.
He obtained a Bachelor of Arts, followed by a Master of Arts degree, from the University of Cambridge in 1982, and qualified as a chartered accountant in England in 1985 and in Canada a year later.
“In Canada, I moved into the investment banking sector. I returned to Hong Kong in the late 1980s and worked in the investment banking business for a number of years. After that, I spent a few years in the private equity business before joining MTRC in 2002,” says Leong.
He has spent more than 14 years with the company after having started there as finance director, and was later put in charge of operations outside of Hong Kong.
He was appointed MTRC’s chief executive officer in March last year.
“I found the MTRC a fascinating place. I don’t think there are many opportunities other than what I consider to be such a great company like MTRC, a company that serves our customers every day. On top of that, we’re building our network and expanding our system to provide an even better medium and longer term transport solution for our customers.”
His biggest satisfaction in his job is the sense of achievement, while his colleagues provide some of the best services every day to passengers and keep on building up the network.
“This is something you can look back on and be proud of five years or 10 years down the road. You can then say I was part of the company that built and delivered this.”
As the leader of such a big organization, Leong reckons that the most important thing is to have very good colleagues, and he’s fortunate to have more than 16,000 of them in Hong Kong, and some 19,000 elsewhere. So, today, MTRC would have close to 36,000 colleagues around the world, and they are hard working professionals in their own fields.
“For many of us, cultivating leadership is by articulating the vision and, for us, that vision is growing and connecting communities, encouraging our colleagues to go out every day when they are operating, building, managing and renting out properties, delivering that vision really for the people.”
In his view, leadership quality should include the quality of working together, the quality of team work and hard work, while keeping a balance between work and life is very important. A leader should also have the motivation to motivate other colleagues to work together and deliver on a particular strategy or vision.
“To me, there are a couple of important attributes, and this is something I say to my son as well — having values — having values that one could live for my whole life, values of hard work, values of dedication and contribution.”
The other thing is intellectual curiosity, he says. Youngsters should maintain that curiosity for life, they should not stop after school or university.
“For everyone, maintaining that intellectual curiosity will drive you forward, push you to learn and keep improving yourself.”
Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen, Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen is proud of his colleagues at MTR Corporation who, he says, provide some of the best services every day to passengers and keep on building up the network — an asset of the Hong Kong transport solution provider.