‘Five or 10 years later, we can be proud to be part of the team that built and de­liv­ered this’

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG - By SO­PHIE HE in Hong Kong so­phiehe@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.”

ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY

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.

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