In Good Company: How Hwa Chong boy Milton Cheng became head of global law firm

Mr Milton Cheng’s solid track record of helping build the storied law firm’s business in East Asia – and the region’s prospects for growth – helped pitchfork the lawyer into the leadership role of the 70-year-old firm, capping a three-decad
Mr Milton Cheng’s solid track record of helping build the storied law firm’s business in East Asia – and the region’s prospects for growth – helped pitchfork the lawyer into the leadership role of the 70-year-old firm, capping a three-decade-old career that began as a summer internship. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

S'pore-born Milton Cheng is first Asian to helm Baker McKenzie and he is up to the challenge

Ever since Mr Bhaskar Menon broke the glass ceiling for Asians in the early 1970s when he was named chairman and chief executive of EMI Music - the label behind memorable hits such as Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon - the corporate world has been aware of the talent rising in this part of the world.

While many of the early stars tended to be like Mr Menon from the Indian subcontinent, of late a number of South-east Asians have been putting their stamp on the world's biggest and best-known transnational companies. This column has profiled three such luminaries - Mr Tan Chin Hwee of Trafigura Group, Ms Tan Yen Yen of Vodafone, both Singaporeans and more recently, the Filipino-American head of Bain & Company Manny Maceda, the first Asian to lead the much-admired consulting firm.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 24, 2019, with the headline 'Hwa Chong boy who leads global law firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe