Home' A Plus Magazine : Nov 2012 Contents November 2012 41
In times of economic uncertainty, the
on-trade tends to decline as consumers
curb discretionary expenditure. The off-
trade often rises in tighter times as
consumers buy more of their liquor from
supermarkets, but rarely does it offset
the on-trade's decline.
After five years as managing director of
the company in Hong Kong, To has taken on
yet another role. As regional recruitment
and talent development director of Pernod
Ricard Asia, To sees her new challenge as
putting more emphasis on a task that Pernod
Ricard has been pursuing for years: develop-
ing talent in Asia.
"This role is not purely human resourc-
es," she says. "Pernod Ricard has been evolv-
ing and is now putting more emphasis on
people and talent development."
Organizing, acquiring and retaining
talent has never been a more pressing task
for Pernod Ricard, since the company has
been busy growing horizontally. Most re-
cently the company acquired U.K.-listed
company Allied Domecq -- including the
Ballantine, Beefeater and Kahlua brands --
in 2005 and Absolut from the Swedish gov-
ernment in 2008.
To is the first Pernod Ricard executive to
hold this position. "It's a new post that came
along and I have a management trainee
programme that I plan to roll out." This aca-
demic year, she will recruit 10 students from
universities in Hong Kong, the mainland,
India, Korea and Singapore. "I'm going to
recruit graduates from top universities in the
region for a very structured programme for
The long-term aim of the management
trainee programme is succession planning.
This means potential recruits will be expect-
ed to serve in a broad range of positions such
as sales, marketing and finance. Another
goal is to instill company loyalty in an era of
short-term employment goals. "Asia is going
so fast and there is always attraction from
other companies," she says of the difficulty
in retaining talent.
Today's potential employees are demand-
ing, says To, and often don't look beyond the
immediate rewards of salaries and benefits.
"It's important to give [recruits] a value-
added proposition," she says. "They need to
know there's a future, there's development,
there's mobility in terms of career opportu-
nities. That's my main challenge."
To says she remains an accountant at
heart. However, she believes she could be
the ideal person to sell talented candidates a
career at Pernod Ricard, a company that has
familiar brands but is largely unknown as a
corporate entity in Asia. "I'm confident be-
cause people know me and I think I'm a good
example," she says. "And I can orchestrate
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