On the Impact of Technology

“We are very lucky because the world is in a big transformation because of technology. This new technology will create a lot of successful people, interesting careers but honestly every new technology will create social problems.

“If we don’t align together, human beings are going to fight each other, because each technology revolution makes the world unbalanced.”

On the Key to Success

“To gain success a person will need high EQ; if you don’t want to lose quickly you will need a high IQ, and if you want to be respected you need high LQ – the IQ of love.”

On Women in Business

“If you want your company to be successful; if you want your company to operate with wisdom, with care, then women are the best.

“37% of senior management in Alibaba are women. Part of the ‘secret sauce’ of our success is because we have so many women colleagues.”

On the Future of Globalization

“I think globalization cannot be stopped – no-one can stop globalization, no-one can stop trade. If trade stops, the world stops. Trade is the way to dissolve the war not cause the war.

“Global trade must be simple and modernized; it must be inclusive so everyone has the same opportunity. The next generation of globalization must be inclusive.”

On the Impact of Artificial Intelligence

“Artificial intelligence, big data is a threat to human beings. I think AI should support human beings. Technology should always do something that enables people, not disable people.

“The computer will always be smarter than you are; they never forget, they never get angry. But computers can never be as wise a man. The AI and robots are going to kill a lot of jobs, because in the future it’ll be done by machines. Service industries offer hope – but they must be done uniquely.”

On Learning from Failure

“Learn from your mistakes – no matter how smart you are you will learn from them. We must share the mistakes with others.

“My thinking is that – if you want to be successful, learn from the other peoples’ mistakes, don’t learn from success stories. The book I want to write is “Alibaba: 1,001 Mistakes“.

On the Value of Teamwork

“You don’t need to know a lot of things, but you need to find the people who are smarter than you are. My job is to make sure smart people are working together.”

“The best way to promote your company is through your product or services, or employees.”

On the Education Challenge

“A teacher should learn all the time; a teacher should share all the time. Education is a big challenge now – if we do not change the way we teach thirty years later we will be in trouble.

“We cannot teach our kids to compete with the machines who are smarter – we have to teach our kids something unique. In this way, 30 years later, kids will have a chance.”

On the Responsibilities of Tech Giants

“Google, Facebook, Amazon and AliBaba – we are the luckiest companies of this century. But we have the responsibility to have a good heart, and do something good. Make sure that everything you do is for the future.”

Authoritatively administrate long-term high-impact e-business via parallel web services. Synergistically synergize equity invested infrastructures whereas integrated infrastructures. Globally whiteboard customer directed resources after multimedia based metrics. Assertively strategize standardized strategic theme areas vis-a-vis impactful catalysts for change. Details

E.Sun Financial Holdings Co. got its start 26 years ago when it was founded by a group of professional managers. Since then, its capital has risen 10-fold, and its assets under management have grown to over NT$2 trillion. Over the past 10 years the average shareholder rate of return has exceeded 10 percent, the highest among financial holding companies (FHCs) in Taiwan.

The company has long been one of the favorite FHCs of foreign investors, who now hold more than 50 percent of its shares, and it was the first Taiwanese enterprise in the financial sector to be selected to DJSI World, a Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

A Bold Succession Plan

In 1992, then Hua Nan Commercial Bank Vice President Huang Yung-jen mobilized professional managers in the banking sector and investors in old-economy industries to found E.Sun Commercial Bank. The bank was then used to form E.Sun Financial Holdings in 2001, and Huang became chairman of the new organization.

In 2008, E.Sun Financial Holdings President Hou Yung-hsiung retired, and Huang tapped Joseph N.C. Huang, the financial holding company’s chief strategy officer at the time, to replace Hou. At 43 years old, Joseph Huang became the youngest person ever to head an FHC in Taiwan, a record that has yet to be broken.

E.Sun Financial Holdings Chairman Huang Yung-jen chooses people based on their character. Joseph Huang is a strong communicator who is flexible within limits and willing to help others. (Image: Chieh-Ying Chiu)

Particularly impressive was that “Huang Yung-jen was able to get everybody to buy into this succession. No senior executives resigned. They all stayed on to help Joseph Huang,” says Ko Chen-en, emeritus professor of accounting at National Taiwan University (NTU) and an independent director on E.Sun Financial Holdings’ board.

With so many Taiwanese companies facing succession dilemmas, how was E.Sun able to make the transition so smoothly?

The Jiaoxi Meeting – A Succession Model Is Born

It depended on a long period of succession planning. Huang Yung-jen recalls that in the years before Hou retired, he discussed the succession issue on several occasions, with the decisive meeting coming in Jiaoxi, a hot-spring resort town in Yilan County.

At the time, he invited all of E. Sun Financial Holdings vice president-level executives to an upscale hotel in the resort town and told them in advance there was no need to prepare anything for the gathering.

On the day of the meeting, Huang Yung-jen closed the door and handed each of the attendees a blank piece of paper. He asked them a question for them to answer in writing: “What are the qualifications needed for E.Sun’s successor?”

The answers were summarized into three main qualifications: 1) The person had to be committed to E.Sun; 2) had to have professional and leadership capabilities; and 3) had to be widely respected in the financial services sector. The three attributes were clearly defined.

After the attendees racked their brains to come up with those three qualifications and the results were compiled, Huang Yung-jen then took a second piece of paper with the names of all of the vice presidents on it and asked attendees to recommend who best met those qualifications.

They were to choose one or more names of people on the list or of somebody not on the list, and if they chose more than one candidate, they had to rank them in order of preference. Most importantly, Huang said, was that they had to explain why they recommended the people they did.

A total of four vice presidents were chosen by the group, with Joseph Huang receiving the most votes. But the others also drew a fair amount of support, according to Huang Yung-jen, who did not announce the results that day and did not reveal the vote tallies to anyone. Instead, he asked everybody in attendance to think more about who was the most appropriate E.Sun successor based on the three main qualifications they identified.