Koong Wai Seng
CEO of Quill Group
“Change is like the wind and there’s no stopping it. Therefore, it’s imperative that we continuously evolve for the better.”
Humility is important for all of us, and more so for people who are successful and highly revered.
The belief that once you’ve achieved everything (or most things) you’ve strived for, you’ve lived and learned life. But that’s quite the opposite for Quill Group’s new Chief Executive Officer, Koong Wai Seng because he never stops learning and doesn’t limit himself to only what he’s good at.
“Regardless of your position or level in your company, I believe that you shouldn’t stick to what you know, rather, explore what you don’t know. If you only practice within your expertise, you’ll never expand your knowledge. Continue to learn, because the more you learn and immerse yourself in the areas outside of your abilities and skills, the more you’ll grow,” explained Koong.
Perhaps, that’s the “secret” to his success with an impressive accolade of more than 20 years of experience in a variety of industries including audit, ﬁnancial advisory, leisure, hospitality, healthcare, property development and property investment in a number of listed property development companies.
He is a member of the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). Koong started his career at Arthur Andersen & Co before joining a public-listed property group for 13 years, where he served as chief financial officer and later as the group finance director. He was also the executive director of Sunway Group and Tropicana before assuming his position in Sunsuria in 2016 and moving to his most recent at Quill.
But he doesn’t boast about these C-Suite positions, rather, he would prefer to be known as a Change Leader because “Change is like the wind and there’s no stopping it. Therefore, it’s imperative that we continuously evolve for the better,” he said, adding that this is the core of his management philosophy.
According to Koong, part of growing and becoming a good leader is being curious, or in local layman’s term, a “busy body”.
“I make myself participate in various departmental meetings like marketing, finance, HR and logistics as it helps me to acquire knowledge of the company’s operations in its entirety.
Part of all this is also to be present and be part of your team regardless of their positions – talk to them, take them out for lunch or coffee and really get to know them. It builds meaningful relationships and trust.”
Koong made it all by merit and hard work as he was born in a low-income family where his mother would sell fruits by the roadside to support the family.
“Regardless of your position or level in your company, I believe that you shouldn’t stick to what you know, rather, explore what you don’t know. If you only practice within your expertise, you’ll never expand your knowledge…”
“I studied very hard and always set high standards for myself. I met my wife (then girlfriend) and we now have three boys,” he said.
Koong will be 62 in 10 years but he is not aiming to retire by then. In fact, he wants to be more involved with his work on a deeper level taking on a more philanthropic mission so that he can leave a legacy for his kids.
“For the new generation who want to be successful, it’s imperative that you associate yourself with high achievers because birds of a feather flock together – you will all lift each other up to reach your milestones sooner, so that you can achieve financial freedom earlier.”