Mongolia’s new generation of leaders come home to add value to local businesses, "Bloomberg TV Mongolia"
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - Gautier Vasseur, Partner and the Head of CIS & Greater China at Pedersen & Partners, speaks to Bloomberg Mongolia about local Executives and corporate culture as well as comparing talent pools in Mongolia and compensation levels regionally.
1. First of all, I’d like to ask you to introduce your firm and describe its main operations worldwide, and also in Mongolia.
Pedersen & Partners help multinationals to recruit senior management, especially in emerging markets. In that respect, we entered the Mongolian market in 2008. In Mongolia, we help our global clients to recruit senior management, and we also help Mongolian companies to recruit what we call C-level positions.
2. So that sounds like hunting human resources.
Actually we are a lot less into the transactional “hunting human resources” approach. What we are trying to do is to find people in the world that would be able to represent our clients’ values and stand for their brands in different emerging markets. As well, we need to find people that will be able to operate and to solve the problems of our clients in markets that have their own specifics – like Mongolia, for example, which is very different from a market like the United States.
3. So, what are the possibilities of Pedersen and Partners recruiting in Mongolia – how do you see the possibilities in Mongolia?
Well, in Mongolia things are quite interesting – now and in the past five years, the country has actually been evolving very fast. Where we are trying to help our clients in Mongolia is to now be able to build a real corporate identity and a real corporate structure, and be able to attract people that know how to build global firms that are able to compete with any competitors on any market. We have been able to help our clients in attracting Mongolian talent that are currently living or working outside Mongolia, and coming back to Mongolia to help build a business, and we have also been able to attract expatriates to come and help Mongolian companies in structuring a more competitive business.
4. There are many definitions of “best leaders” among senior executives worldwide. But how do you define the “best leaders” in Mongolia – what are their characteristics?
It’s very difficult to answer that question quickly. What I would say, however, is that all the best business leaders that I have worked with – and I have worked in more than 30 different countries – have one characteristic in common, that I would call humility. I think it’s very important today for leaders to be able to shape an organization where everybody has his own space. And for that, you need to be able to delegate, you need to be able to accept that people below you know more than you, and to empower them and let them take their own responsibilities. In Mongolia – five, six, seven years ago – you had people that had developed a very cohesive structure, where the boss had decided and the other people below just did what the boss said. If something was done wrong, then the people below can say “my boss made a mistake” but not really change it. And now it’s quite interesting to see a new generation of leaders that are actually able to recruit senior professionals and experts below them and to rely on their expertise, to listen more to their subordinates, to give them more space, to use their talents and to be able to bring real added value to the company.
5. What do you mean by a “new generation” in Mongolia – is that by age or by education?
I find that we have more and more people that have been educated abroad – typically in the United States, but also in Japan or in Australia – and these people are now coming back to Mongolia for different reasons, and are applying all the knowledge that they have gained abroad to the Mongolian market, and I think that these people bring a new skill set, a new scope, a new approach to management that is still relatively new in Mongolia, and that is very encouraging, I find.
6. So you have said a lot about Mongolian leaders. If you compare Mongolia with other Asian countries, what differences do you see?
I find that Mongolian people have what is very much a transactional approach when they are doing business or interacting with other people. When we are talking about recruitment, for instance, it is very much “show me your CV and show me how skilled you are, and I will tell you how much I can pay you” – which means that the person will leave the company as soon as he or she feels more valued somewhere else. I believe that now the Mongolian leaders need to develop stronger identities of corporate values and objectives, and try to engage the people they are working with on their corporate mission – rather than just follow-the-boss. However, I find that Mongolian people are very courageous. I’m amazed by the language skills that you find in Mongolia – I mean just this afternoon I was in a taxi and the taxi driver was speaking English to me – I live in Shanghai, and that does not happen to me often. I also like the energy that you feel – people are proud and they want to bring something to their country, and this is quite unique. You sense that there is a real sense for the Mongolian community, and that there are people who want to do good for their communities and for their country.
7. OK, let’s talk a little about global trends in senior executive compensation. What’s your opinion?
The trends are further and further from the transactional model. The big trend that we see now in how the senior managers are compensated is that part of their package includes more and more what we call long-term incentives versus cash remuneration. It’s no longer just what I can earn at the end of the month if I’m working for you, but how much wealth I can generate if I’m working on the long-term future of your company. So you now have more and more businesses that are giving stock options and shares, so an employee is not just interested in his own results but also in the results of the company. You also see that there is a value-added path that is becoming more and more important, and that depends on key performance indicators or KPIs, which can be based on personal performances or the company’s performance, or a very concrete achievement that the person has to attain.
8. OK, thanks for joining us and good luck with your new job.
Thank you very much.