FedEx Express' new managing director for its Hong Kong and Macau operations is 40-year-old engineer Anthony Leung.
Mr Leung's new post is the culmination of his rise from the ranks since he joined the global logistics giant in 1996 as a service engineer.
With a technical certificate to his name, Mr Leung started a career in manufacturing but a four-year stretch on the highly technical job had left him world-weary. So, he took three years off work to pursue higher academic goals.
His determination bore fruit and the qualification subsequently led to an 18-month stint with a outboard engine manufacturer, but his growing sphere of competence prompted him to look skyward. "I craved customer service experiences and wanted to learn the management ethos of multinationals," he says. After four rounds of interviews, Mr Leung was convinced that FedEx was the vehicle that would take him places.
The shift to FedEx was wise and aptly made. In his role as a service engineer, he was initially responsible for process design and resources management. A year later, hard work paid off as he became senior service engineer and a member of the support team for the company's move into the new Chek Lap Kok airport. "There were times we worked 18-plus hours a day or we simply slept over at the site," he recounts. "The hours were crazy, but the chance to get involved in such tour de force doesn't happen every day."
It did however come by three times on a roll. Mr Leung, who then rightfully assumed the position of regional project engineer of China and Mid-Pacific, was tasked with two similar projects in Shanghai and Taiwan. His dedication and expertise were rewarded with further promotion to regional planning and engineering manager and very shortly afterwards, senior manager of the company's Hong Kong Gateway Operations.
In 2006, Mr Leung made it to the top, assuming the position of managing director for FedEx's North China operations. The job took him and his family to China's capital city. "The environment was challenging and the people exuberating. I adored the people as much as the diversity and vibes of Beijing life," he says.
In June this year, he returned home for his current job. "My responsibilities now encompass the development and execution of corporate strategies that will propel our business forward in the cities of Hong Kong and Macau," he explains.
"With the right drive, you can reach many goals"
Quick steps up
Mr Leung's career success is a manifestation of passion and resilience, but he humbly attributes his achievements to FedEx's egalitarian platform on which training is ample and career possibilities abundant.
"FedEx promotes from within and prioritises competence over seniority. More than 91 per cent of my management team members were promoted from general positions," says Mr Leung, who now has more than 1,100 employees under his wings.
He points out that the logistics industry offers a non-stop supply of opportunities to young people from various disciplines, although those who graduated with a logistics qualification may have the upper hand since they have all the textbook knowledge at their disposal. However, the keys to a high-flying career, Mr Leung emphasises, are a willing nature and a positive attitude. "You must earn the experience as if you deserve it," he advises. "Hard work and long hours are only part of a long and rewarding journey. With the right drive, you can reach many goals."
A top-floor manager with a hands-on approach, the last thing Mr Leung ever wanted is to lose touch with his people, customers and the community. "To keep my finger on the pulse, I arrange a monthly day out with a courier team, participate in skip-level meetings and customers meetings," he explains.
He takes pride in his identity as a well-liked FedEx personality but there are yet many roles to play in life — he is a son, a husband and a father, as well as a keen photographer and an enthusiastic traveller who happens to have a liking for football. "Great games," he says. "Football can be inspirational. A footballer contributes his skills, physical agility, mental strengths and other personal attributes to team success which is pretty much everything a manager or a leader should look to achieve."