StarHub’s Jeannie Ong adds marketing to IR role
Jeannie Ong, StarHub’s highly regarded head of IR who took home the best IRO (large cap) award at the IR Magazine Awards – South East Asia 2012, has been named as the company’s new chief marketing officer (CMO).
Announcing her promotion – and the fact that she will continue heading up the corporate communications and IR departments – in a letter to investors and analysts, Ong jokes about her promotion. ‘My board probably thinks if I can market the company and convince investors to pump millions of dollars into my stock, I should have no problem marketing to households, consumers and enterprise, over and above my corporate communications and IR function,’ she says. ‘If it only knew! Ha ha!’
On a more serious note though, Ong assures investors in the Singapore-listed firm that her new role will not limit her ability to meet the needs of investors and analysts. ‘Even as a CMO, I will continue to meet with you – our investors and analysts – and address you at investment conferences,’ she says. ‘We will continue to anticipate your queries and manage your expectations about our business.’
In fact, Ong says her experience in IR will benefit her in her new position. ‘IR is a strategic management responsibility that integrates finance, communication, marketing and compliance to enable the most effective two-way communication between a company and the investment community, which contributes to the company’s fair valuation,’ she explains.
‘IR is both a science and an art to me. The communication and marketing bits are the art, while the finance, compliance and corporate governance are the science. I believe it was the artistic rather than the scientific aspects that won me several best IRO awards. In that light, my experience in IR has certainly prepared me well for the CMO role.’
Ong’s skills in ‘anticipating investors’ queries and managing their expectations’ can also be applied when it comes to consumers, she says, adding that her new role will also open an avenue for a more ‘innovative and challenge-tackling’ mind set. ‘The good thing about marketing is that, unlike IR, I am not obliged to do a full disclosure as there are no prizes for transparency or for showing your aces to your competitors,’ she explains.
Ong has more than 20 years’ experience in corporate, financial, marketing and community communications, having started her communications career at the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore in 1992, before moving into senior IR and communications positions.
She joined telecoms and entertainment provider StarHub in April 2001 and helped take the company public in October 2004. ‘I think the discipline I have instilled in myself over the years has come to this: whatever marketing decision I make for StarHub, I will think about it through the lens of an investor,’ she says.