Asia Pacific Breweries (“APB”), a 70 year old multinational company with headquarters in Singapore but has breweries in countries like Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam (APB, 2010).
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This is a great challenge for the company in general and the Human Resource Department in particular when it comes to sustaining smooth and efficient operations. This is especially true when it comes to managing constraints and bottlenecks such as finding international managers (Garten, 2000).
APB was able to handle the bottlenecks because it has become a multinational company as evidenced by their high “Transnationality index” (Leung & White, 2004).
According to experts in international business “Transnationality index” is a measure of the extent of transnationalisation of the firm but more technically known as the average of three ratios: a) foreign assest; b) foreign sales; and c) foreign employment (Cherunilam, 2007). This simply means that APB’s HR department has been recruiting managers from all over the world if it scored high in the said index.
This assertion can be easily ascertained if one will look at the current crop of managers within the APB. Even if one simply focuses on the Board of Directors it is clear that APB is not limiting the hiring of managers within Singapore and has created a team of international managers. For example the Chairman, Simon Israel used to work with Sarah Lee and so he worked across the Pacific Region (APB, 2010).
Israel is a New Zealander who made his mark while working as the Executive Vice President for the Asia-Pacific Region for Danone, a European based company (French Embassy, 2010).
The same thing can be said about the CEO, Roland Pirmez is a Belgian who used to be the CEO of Heineken Russia. He also served in different positions in Africa before he became managing director in Heineken Angola (APB, 2010). He has a Master’s degree in brewing and has worked in the beer industry for 23 years (APB, 2010).
The same is true also for another member of the board of directors – David Richard Hazelwood who is a British citizen. His last position before joining APB was as Director Group Finance for a company based in the Netherlands. His alternate, Robert S. Lette is a Dutch citizen. He is a former banker with Credit Suisse and he is also a non-executive director of Heineken Switzerland (APB, 2010).
It is interesting to note that other members of the board of directors are Singaporeans but it is not just their nationality that is common between them but also the fact that they used to work for a Food and Beverage company called Fraser and Neave Ltd. They are Koh Poh Tiong and Huang Hong Peng (APB, 2010). There is a reason why they sit on the board; APB is a joint venture between Fraser and Neave Ltd. and Heineken.
Based on what was discussed it can be argued that APB is willing to hire international managers especially those who worked outside Singapore and had experience working with other firms other than APB. But it is also clear that they prefer those who are familiar with the beer industry.
This is the reason why many of the aforementioned corporate leaders used to work for Heineken. It is also important to point out that APB source out their international managers by looking at a pool of talent currently working in either Heineken or Fraser and Neave Ltd.
Asia Pacific Breweries. (2010). “Board of Directors.” Web.
Cherunilam, F. (2007). International Business: Text and Cases, 4th ed. New Delhi: Prentice Hall.
French Embassy. (2010). “Mr. Simon Israel Conferred Knight in the Legion of Honour.” Retrieved from https://sg.ambafrance.org/Mr-Simon-Israel-conferred-Knight
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Garten, J. (2000). Worldview: Global Strategies for the New Economy. MA: Harvard Business School.
Leung, K. & S. White. (2004). Handbook of Asian Management. MA : Kluwer Academic.