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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Mr. Henry Chu of BreadTalk Group clinches ‘Executive of the Year - Food & Beverage' at the SBR Management Excellence Awards 2018

The company witnessed strong growth in new and existing markets under his exceptional leadership.

Mr. Henry Chu Heng Hwee successfully grew the Group’s portfolio of brands, diversified the business and turned around the BreadTalk Group's financial performance. Under his management, the Group’s market capitalisation reached a high of SGD$703m on 3 July 2018, a 150% increase from October 2016.

Henry re-joined the Group in October 2016 as managing director and was promoted to Group CEO on 20 June 2017. He oversees the Group’s global operations, focusing on the strategic planning and strengthening of its core F&B businesses, investments, business development, and expansion into key markets. He was instrumental in leading a cross functional team to start the 4orth Food Concepts division. Its primary objective is to identify new F&B concepts and potential partnership opportunities with renowned brands such as Song Fa Bak Kut Teh which is a 50 year-old iconic brand serving authentic Teochew pork rib soup from Singapore and highly popular tea beverage brands including TaiGai and Nayuki from Shenzhen, China. Because of his outstanding people leadership and proven management qualities in leading BreadTalk Group, a multi-brand local Food & Beverage (F&B) conglomerate to scale higher peaks, Henry was the recipient of the Executive of the Year-Food & Beverage top accolade at the SBR Management Excellence Awards 2018.

Under his guidance, the Group embarked and signed strategic partnerships with iconic brands for its growth in existing and new markets. One outstanding partnership brought 50 year-old local brand Song Fa Bak Kut Teh (Song Fa) to China and Thailand. In its flagship Shanghai Jing An Kerry Centre restaurant, its first month of operation sales topped SGD$296,340 (RMB$1.5m). The Group partnered with Taiwan's Wu Pao Chun (WPC) Bakery to operate the award winning WPC bakeries in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In the last two years, Henry and his team invested heavily in improving the Group’s backend support infrastructure, boosted internal communication efforts with employees and signed a strategic partnership with 115 year-old Japanese trading company Shinmei Corporation (Shinmei) to leverage on Shinmei’s 115 year track record in the trading and wholesale of soft commodities and food products to centralise, strengthen its global procurement network and achieve economies of scale and realise high cost-savings for the Group.

Meanwhile, the Group also led Singapore and Thailand's tea craze with its partnership with Shenzhen Pindao Food & Beverage Management Co Ltd to operate and manage the popular tea beverage brands Nayuki and TaiGai in both markets. In its efforts to further strengthen its direct owned brands in new markets, the Group signed a joint venture agreement with PT. Pura Indah Berkat (PIB) to operate Toast Box outlets in Indonesia, as well as with UMLand to operate BreadTalk and Toast Box outlets in Malaysia.

The Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards was held on November 22, 2018 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore. The award honours the country's most outstanding business leaders, including trailblazing individuals and teams whose initiatives have brought tangible business gains for their company's operations.

The 2018 nominees were judged by a panel consisting of Henry Tan, Managing Director at NEXIA TS; David Chew, Executive Director, Risk Advisory Deloitte Southeast Asia, Lim Wei Wei, Partner, Practice Leader, Governance, and Risk at Baker Tilly TFW; Pardeep Singh Khosa, Director of Dispute Resolution at Drew & Napier; and Yang Eu Jin, Partner and Co Head of Capital Markets Practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP.

If you would like to join the 2019 awards and be awarded as one of the most outstanding management executives of Singapore, please email julie@charltonmediamail.com.

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