CEO Interview

“Our vision helps us to see what’s possible when we work together.” 

Zoya Malik, Editor-in-Chief, Financial Services Practice, GlobalData caught up with Kenny Young CEO, Morison Global to learn about his strategy for the association over the next three years and his plans for broadening stakeholder engagement

Kenny Young
Morison Global

Zoya Malik: How has your background in financial services and accountancy prepared you for your role as CEO?

Kenny Young: A better part of my career was spent in public accounting, from when I was recruited out of university to the time I retired as a partner. It was an exciting time – the work I did with clients and seeing our people succeed. There’s a deep satisfaction when you can make a positive impact on the people you work with. That’s what I love about the profession. But being good at what we do, doesn’t come easy. There are real pressures to perform and deliver on promises to clients. There is also the responsibility that comes with leading and developing our people. And we are ambassadors of the brand, our firm’s as well as our own. A lot of expectations to live up to and trying to do it all while navigating the changes and disruptions, that feel like a constant in our profession. I feel that these experiences and perspectives along with a love for the profession have prepared me for my role at Morison Global.

ZM: What attracted you to Morison Global and to the role of CEO?

KY: That’s a really good question. Certainly, one could see that the association is well represented globally. It has a rich history, many members have long standing relationships with one another. There’s a lot of pride in what members do and how they do it. There’s also clarity in the markets that members serve and an enormous potential to build on successes of the past. That is exciting to be a part of.

ZM: What is your vision for the organisation over the next 3 years?

KY: Our vision is for our member firms to constantly improve, to find ways to help clients strengthen their position and to grow in a responsible and sustainable way. It is therefore important to remind ourselves from time to time that we need to go beyond relevance. We want to be indispensable to the clients and the communities we serve. An important part of that equation is to grow and leverage the assets and energy we have across the association. And there is a lot of that in our association. In every sense, our vision helps us to see what’s possible when we work together.

ZM: What are your main priorities with the Board and management?

KY: Anyone that is tasked with executing a strategy will tell you it doesn’t go in a straight line. There is a need for continuous reflection, to be open to rethinking priorities and reiterating the plan. The board is very much a part of that process. I have a consultative tendency, much of that comes from my professional upbringing where different points of view are often considered so that clients are getting the right answer or the best outcome. It’s important for me to be able to have those conversations with our board. So, a priority for me is to build trust, improve communications with the Board and work towards getting the right outcomes for the association.

ZM: What is your plan for getting to know member firms?

KY: A significant part of our role as an association is bridge building – forge ties, improve communications and foster opportunities between members. That requires an understanding of what is important to our members, their people and their clients. To do that, we look to engage as many people as we can within a member’s firm, whether it’s the practice leader, a client service manager or a new recruit. Each interaction informs our agenda and the areas of collaborations where members can benefit. It’s also an opportunity for more people to get to know us.

ZM: How will your Singapore position and regional experience boost Morison Global’s growth prospects?

KY: My time in Singapore gave me a front row seat to the dramatic transformations that were happening in Asia and the opportunities that were created. Asia has been a big beneficiary of global trends and shifts – consumer growth, foreign capital flow, innovations etc. All this bodes well for professional services firms that have positioned themselves to ride these trends and shifts. Our member firms in Asia are in that position. But time is precious, especially in Asia where the pace of change happens very quickly. So, it’s not just about growth. The quality of growth matters. That has been a focus for me during my time as a partner with the firm. I am keen to share what I’ve learned and talk about a roadmap with my colleagues in Asia and others who have that same focus.

ZM: What is your plan for industry stakeholder engagement to support clients in growing their businesses?

KY: A number of our members actively engage with industry stakeholders on issues that are top of mind for their clients and communities. Currently at the association level, we have plans to step up our engagement with various stakeholders on environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities. ESG issues are coming to the forefront for many businesses and their stakeholders. At a macro level, I think the questions have largely shifted from the why to the what and how. It’s important for us to be a part of those conversations and play a bigger role in helping our members and their clients advance their ESG agendas.