Presently, Perfect Corp.’s technology is embraced by over 600 brands, including some of the globe’s leading beauty companies. Chang underscores the pivotal role of businesses enabling customers to “try before they buy,” citing the direct correlation with enhanced sales. She emphasizes the imperative of staying abreast of technological shifts, declaring that failure to do so risks exclusion from the competitive landscape. In a notable milestone, Perfect Corp. went public on the NYSE in late 2022, and its latest first-half results reveal a commendable 6% year-on-year revenue growth, amounting to $25 million. Bolstered by this success, the company anticipates a robust 12% increase in full-year sale
2. Carolyn Choo
CEO and managing director, Worldwide Hotels
Age: 46 | Singapore
In 2002, Carolyn Choo made a pivotal career decision, bidding farewell to her position at a local bank in Singapore to respond to her father’s summons to join the family’s budget hotel chain. The visionary behind this call was billionaire Choo Chong Ngen, a former fishmonger and textiles seller, who initiated the Hotel 81 chain in the mid-1990s within Singapore’s Geylang red-light district. Recognizing the need for familial assistance in the burgeoning enterprise, Choo stepped in and spearheaded the transformation of the group.
Under her leadership, the Hotel 81 chain transcended its origins, expanding into the mid-tier segment and extending its presence across the Asia-Pacific region. The culmination of her efforts led to her appointment as CEO and managing director in 2017. In the subsequent year, she orchestrated a strategic restructuring of the family business, rebranding it as Worldwide Hotels.
As of October, Worldwide Hotels boasts ownership of 38 hotels in Singapore, representing a diverse portfolio managed by six distinct hotel brands. With an eye on future expansion, the company is set to introduce three new hotels by the end of 2023, with an estimated investment of approximately S$1.7 billion ($1.2 billion). Internationally, Worldwide Hotels extends its reach with ownership of 11 hotels spread across Australia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand. Managed by renowned brands such as Holiday Inn, Ibis, and Travelodge, the international arm underscores the company’s commitment to quality.
3. Junita Ciputra
President Commissioner, Metropolitan Land
Age: 62 | Indonesia
In 1988, Junita Ciputra started her professional journey with the Ciputra Group, an Indonesian property development powerhouse founded and named after her late father. Initially joining as a finance manager, her role has since evolved, and she now plays a pivotal role in steering the group’s operations alongside her older sister, Rina, and brothers Cakra and Candra. Beyond her responsibilities as a commissioner or director at various group companies, Junita holds the esteemed position of President Commissioner at Metropolitan Land. This branch of the conglomerate specializes in constructing residential and commercial properties primarily within the greater Jakarta area, managing malls and hotels in Jakarta, Cirebon, and Bali.
Apart from her corporate engagements, Junita actively contributes to the Ciputra family’s philanthropic endeavours, aligning with her father’s vision of fostering millions of entrepreneurs in Indonesia. Since 2002, she has chaired the Citra Berkat Foundation, and since 2006, she has held the chairmanship of the Ciputra Pendidikan Foundation. These foundations play a vital role in promoting education and entrepreneurship initiatives, currently overseeing 11 schools and two universities across Indonesia.
Junita’s academic prowess further underscores her leadership capabilities, holding a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of San Francisco and an M.B.A. in finance and real estate from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Her multifaceted contributions to the Ciputra Group, coupled with her active involvement in educational and entrepreneurial initiatives, exemplify a well-rounded and impactful professional journey.
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4. Trudy Dai
CEO, Taobao and Tmall Group, Alibaba Group
Age: 47 | China
Trudy Dai, a foundational figure in the inception of Alibaba Group, has recently assumed command over its Taobao and Tmall shopping platforms. This transition followed the company’s strategic decision in March to fragment into six more streamlined business units. At 47, Dai strategically concentrates on championing cost-effective offerings amidst China’s economic downturn, fortifying Alibaba’s appeal to both consumers and merchants in the face of formidable competitors like JD.com and PDD Holdings.
Employing a strategy of marketing budget-friendly products and implementing reduced fees for merchants, Taobao and Tmall have exponentially expanded their user base. In the April-June quarter alone, these initiatives resulted in a staggering 115 billion yuan ($16 billion) in revenues, constituting an impressive 49% of Alibaba’s total sales during that period. Defying expectations, Alibaba’s overall sales experienced a remarkable 14% year-on-year surge, reaching 234 billion yuan.
5. Mahima Datla
Managing director, Biological E
Age: 46 | India
Mahima Datla, assuming the role of General Manager in 1998 after earning her bachelor’s in business management from London’s Webster University, entered the fold of the Indian pharmaceutical and vaccine company founded by her paternal and maternal grandfathers. Over the years, she ascended to the position of Managing Director in 2013. In a significant development, a protracted legal battle with her mother over the company’s ownership was conclusively resolved last year, with the Indian Supreme Court ruling in favour of the daughter.
As the majority stakeholder in the privately held Biological E, Datla played a pivotal role in the company’s response to the global pandemic. In collaboration with the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Biological E developed the COVID-19 vaccine named Corbevax. This initiative resulted in the supply of 100 million doses to the Indian government until August 2022.
Under Datla’s leadership, Biological E has witnessed impressive financial growth, with revenue experiencing a compound annual rate of 40% over the past four years, reaching 39 billion rupees ($475 million) in the fiscal year ending March 2023. The company, which boasts eight vaccines prequalified by the World Health Organization—covering ailments such as tetanus, rubella, and measles—currently produces over 2 million vaccine doses daily. These are distributed to more than 130 countries, reflecting the company’s global impact.
6. Anna Ma. Margarita B. Dy
President and CEO, Ayala Land
Age: 54 | Philippines
Anna Ma. Margarita B. Dy assumed the leadership role at Ayala Land in October, marking a historic milestone as the first female CEO of the Philippines’ second-largest property developer by market value. This elevation coincides with the company’s proactive response to the escalating demand for residential projects, as it intensifies its efforts to meet the surging housing needs. Ayala Land is the real estate arm of the Ayala group, a conglomerate under the stewardship of billionaire Jaime Zobel de Ayala and his family.
With a tenure at Ayala Land spanning 18 years, Anna’s ascent to the top has been characterized by significant contributions to the company. She has been an integral part of the management committee since 2008 and, preceding her appointment as CEO, played a pivotal role in overseeing numerous luxury housing projects as the Chief Operating Officer and head of the residential business group.
The company’s financial performance under Anna’s leadership is noteworthy, with a 41% surge in net profit during the first six months of 2023 compared to the previous year, amounting to 11.4 billion pesos ($200 million). This remarkable growth is attributed to stable rental income from office and commercial properties, coupled with robust demand for residential projects such as Park East Place in Bonifacio Global City and Ciela at Aera Heights, an upscale estate in Cavite, southwest of Manila.
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7. Stephanie Hui
Head of private and growth equity in Asia Pacific, Goldman Sachs
Age: 50 | Hong Kong
Stephanie Hui, a veteran with an enduring career at Goldman Sachs, commenced her journey with the bank as an analyst in 1995. After a brief hiatus to pursue a Harvard M.B.A., she re-entered the firm in 2000, steadily ascending the corporate ladder. In just over a decade, she attained the position of co-heading the merchant banking division for Asia Pacific, excluding Japan. Her prowess in the field was further recognized when she was appointed as the head of private equity in Asia Pacific, including Japan, in 2019.
Notably, in 2006, she orchestrated a deal to acquire a 7% stake in ICBC for $2.5 billion, strategically positioned ahead of the Chinese bank’s IPO. This investment emerged as one of Goldman’s most lucrative ventures. Under her leadership, the firm also spearheaded a $36 million investment in South Korea’s prominent food delivery app Woowa Brothers in 2014. This strategic move culminated in Germany’s Delivery Hero acquiring Woowa Brothers at a valuation of $4 billion in 2021. In 2021, Hui orchestrated a $50 million series C round in Perfect Corp., a Taipei-based beauty-tech startup founded by Alice Chang, showcasing her adeptness in navigating diverse and dynamic investment landscapes.
8. M.R. Jyothy
Managing director, Jyothy Labs
Age: 45 | India
In April 2020, M.R. Jyothy assumed the mantle of Managing Director at the Mumbai-based consumer goods company, an entity established and named after her father, M.P. Ramachandran, who now serves as Chairman Emeritus. Jyothy Labs, operating across 23 plants in India, specializes in the production of detergents and dishwashing soaps. Renowned as a market leader in the fabric-whitener segment, the company boasts a dominant market share of over 80%, primarily driven by its flagship brand Ujala.
In the domain of dishwash bars and liquids, the company secures the second position in sales value and ranks as the second-largest producer by volume in mosquito repellent coils. Despite facing a considerable surge in raw material prices, Jyothy Labs displayed impressive financial resilience. In the fiscal year ending on March 31, the company achieved a remarkable 13% growth in revenue, reaching 25 billion rupees ($300 million). Simultaneously, its net profit soared by 51% to 2.4 billion rupees, highlighting the company’s adeptness in navigating challenging market conditions while maintaining substantial growth.
9. Lee Young-hee
President of the global marketing office, Samsung Electronics
Age: 59 | South Korea
In December 2022, Lee Young-hee, unassociated with Samsung Group’s founding Lee family, garnered significant attention in South Korea’s deeply patriarchal landscape following her promotion to president of Samsung Electronics’ global marketing office, transitioning from her previous role as executive vice president. This milestone marks her as the first female president within the tech giant and the inaugural woman external to the founding family to hold such a distinguished position within Samsung Group. Notably, Lee Boo-jin, the granddaughter of Samsung’s founder Lee Byung-chull, serves as the president of Samsung affiliate Hotel Shilla.
Among the 17 presidents at Samsung Electronics, Lee stands as the sole female figure in a landscape dominated by male counterparts. The company, in a statement accompanying her appointment, highlighted their commitment to fostering growth by elevating a competent female executive to such a prominent role, signalling an opportunity for women to undertake substantial challenges within the organization.
Lee’s career trajectory includes joining Samsung Electronics in 2007 after tenures at prominent entities such as French cosmetics giant L’Oréal and the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods conglomerate Unilever. Possessing a master’s degree in advertising from Northwestern University in the U.S., her contributions have been pivotal in propelling Samsung Electronics to become a premier vendor of smartphones by shipment volume. In expressing her professional ethos, Lee emphasized the symbiotic relationship between marketers and customers, underscoring the critical importance of guiding marketing strategies to maintain customer engagement and interest. Her presence and achievements within Samsung Electronics have not only broken barriers but also established a pathway for female leadership and innovation within the technology sector.
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10. Julia Leung
CEO, Securities and Futures Commission
Age: 63 | Hong Kong
In January, Julia Leung ascended as the foremost woman and local Hongkonger to helm the Securities and Futures Commission, an independent body overseeing Hong Kong’s securities and futures markets. As she steps into this pivotal role, she faces a substantial challenge given Hong Kong’s aspirations to establish itself as a digital asset hub, all while reeling from its most significant crypto crime to date.
By October, the authorities had apprehended at least three dozen individuals linked to JPEX, an unlicensed crypto exchange accused by Hong Kong police of defrauding investors of HK$1.6 billion ($200 million). Despite JPEX refuting the claims, the arrests ensued following the Securities and Futures Commission’s investigation in 2022, which ultimately led to police involvement.
Leung commenced her journey with the financial markets regulator in 2015 as an executive director, subsequently advancing to the role of deputy CEO in 2018. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s de facto central bank, has appointed her to several roles, including undersecretary for financial services and treasurer. Before her regulatory roles, she spent a decade as a correspondent for the Asian Wall Street Journal.
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