• Singaporean predicts strong growth in the Asian pet food sector.
  • Leader extols the power of positive thinking as a tool for business.
  • China the latest stop in an adventure-filled career.

An ability to multi-task is critical to effective leadership. Such aggregation is dependent on substantial reserves of energy. Thankfully, vitality is something that Adrian Ng has never lacked, either personally or professionally.

The affable Singaporean indulges his love of travel, gastronomy, and culture in his free time. He’s lived and worked in six countries and visited 47 others. He counts learning from new encounters and experiences as his driving passion.

Meanwhile, a career at the pinnacle of Asia’s food science industry has seen him steer strategy at Procter & Gamble and Adisseo. Now in Shanghai with Kemin Industries, he heads the newly created Asia-Pacific pet food and rendering technologies business unit.

Hunger for Adventure

It’s just the kind of adventurous life arc one might expect from a man whose most memorable recent trip was an expedition to Everest Base Camp in Tibet with his wife and two kids.

“I’m a very positive person,” says Ng, explaining his leadership philosophy. “I think it’s essential to adopt a glass-half-full approach to everything you do in life.”

Ng is applying his trademark levity to his latest position at Kemin Industries. With the global pandemic disrupting travel, he is currently in Shanghai without his family and beloved pet silkie chickens.

Despite these disadvantages, he is focused on the task at hand: providing strategic direction to strengthen the industrial footprint of pet food lines in Asia.

Pet Food for Thought

As pet owners grow worldwide, demand for pet food and care products is soaring. The Asia-Pacific pet industry has witnessed staggering year-on-year percentage growth in the last decade. Moreover, the pandemic has been a boon for pet uptake in the region — with people adopting animal friends to bring joy during a difficult period.

As such, Ng is deploying a “growth mindset” to sniff out opportunities during a crisis.

“You need to be a hunting wolf,” he laughs. “Seriously though, there’s no point in being reactive in business. It’s all about being proactive even when times are challenging, like now. At Kemin Industries, my job is to achieve buy-in from my team and drive the growth of the pet food unit, and I see great potential to do just that.”

Ng attended ESSEC Business School in 2011, taking a General Management and Business Administration (GMBA) course. By that stage, he had already served in senior roles at Procter & Gamble and Adisseo. Nevertheless, he credits the experience with sharpening his leadership instincts and making him an even more effective general to his troops.

“Leadership is not about basking in the limelight,” he says. “It’s about building success through talents so an organization can succeed. If you have great talents, success will come. If you remove those talents, even the greatest organization will falter.”

Putting People First

Indeed, Ng’s commitment to being a people person shines through in everything he says. His enthusiasm for the fray is undimmed, and he relishes the prospect of driving the success of Kemin Industries through his new role.

When he lists the highlights of his career so far, it is noticeable how much he relishes the achievements of others.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing people in my team succeed,” he says. “Over the years, many of the people I have managed are now in senior management positions. I think that’s a great reflection of the job that you are doing as a leader.”

In his latest role in China, Ng remains on a globetrotting path. And with his energy reserves showing no sign of diminishing, he’s determined to help others on their journey to the summit.