After 16 years with Banyan Tree Holdings, Mr Edwin Yeow, managing director Global Marketing, and joint managing director of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, is leaving at the end of October to pursue his own personal goals. By Raini Hamdi, Editor, TTG Asia
A search for his successor is on, with Mr Yeow as a key member of the search committee.
In an interview, Mr Yeow, told TTG Asia a string of events in the last few years changed his perspective on life and believed at 53 years old, it was time to pursue new meaning and fulfilment.
A close shave with the Asian tsunami and his wife's battle with cancer made him rethink values and led to his decision to resign from Banyan Tree - virtually Mr Yeow's life in the last 16 years.
Mr Yeow, based in Singapore, will be moving back to Kuala Lumpur. He will take a break from the corporate world, go back to business school, then start a new branded boutique hotel venture, backed by Hong Kong partners, in Kuala Lumpur and in other locations in the region where there are no real boutique hotels.
Mr Yeow said: "There is always a time and place to move on and my time is now. I do not believe in working all the way to 65 years old before retiring from the corporate world. How often have we seen people at 65 trying to start a new venture but unable due to age and lack of stamina, a real case of too late and too old to venture out."
Described as "brand champion" by Banyan Tree's chairman Mr KP Ho himself, Mr Yeow set up the global distribution and marketing network for the group in 1992, before the flagship Banyan Tree Phuket opened in 1994. Although there was no property to show, overseas tour operators latched on to the concept and, even today, with only nine properties, the Banyan Tree brand is larger than the portfolio.
Mr Yeow attributed this to the vision, creativity and large personality of Mr Ho, as well as good marketing and operational delivery.
Asked who would be an ideal replacement for him, in a now public-listed and rapidly-expanding Banyan Tree, Mr Yeow said: "The ideal replacement is someone with a strong brand marketing background - not necessarily from the hospitality sector - strategic in mindset and business driven.
"He or she has to be a broad view person, with a strong personality or leadership skills to be able to handle people."
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