February 24, 2017 – Korn Ferry has named May Knight as country managing director, Korn Ferry Hay Group. She will be based in the company’s Hong Kong office. In her new role, Ms. Knight will drive Korn Ferry Hay Group’s growth in Hong Kong in alignment with its general regional strategy.
Ms. Knight brings to the firm over 25 years of experience from operational and consulting roles in Asia and Europe. Before joining Korn Ferry Hay Group, Ms. Knight was managing director, financial services, Asia Pacific at Accenture. There, she served as Asia Pacific insurance management consulting lead, responsible for its insurance industry group (life, non-life, reinsurance) management consulting, which spans across 17 markets across the region. She was responsible for developing and executing the firm’s insurance industry strategy and guiding the development of client relationships. Prior to that, she was a partner Ernst & Young’s advisory practice, leading its strategy, customer & growth and digital solutions for Asia.
Ms. Knight has strong business ties in Hong Kong. “She brings a wealth of consulting and leadership advisory experience to Korn Ferry Hay Group,” said Tharuma Rajah, managing director of Korn Ferry Hay Group, Asia Pacific. “Given her deep experience and relationships with the financial community across Asia Pacific and globally, we are now in a better position to grow our business in this market segment.”
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As one of the world’s leading international financial centers, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterized by low taxation and free trade. It is an important center for international finance and trade, with one of the greatest concentrations of corporate headquarters in the Asia Pacific region.
The Hong Kong market has again held on to its ranking as the most economically free market in the world, according to the Fraser Institute, while a study by the Milken Institute found that the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu has the best economy of any city in mainland China; Shanghai and Tianjin came second and third. In Shanghai, China’s financial hub and a global finance center, employers expect to grow staffing levels in a number of industry sectors and all nine regions, according to a recent Manpower employment index report. In Japan, Tokyo employers report the region’s most optimistic hiring plans and expect the strongest hiring in more than six years.
Expansion in Hong Kong
A growing number of executive search firms have expanded in the booming Hong Kong market. Here’s some recent examples from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
- Executive search firm Argyll Scott recently acquired REED’s business entity in Hong Kong. “As a part of our ambitious global growth plans, we are committed to significantly increasing our market share within the APAC region,” said CEO John Hunter. “Given our success in the region to date, we believe we are uniquely positioned to further develop REED’s businesses in Hong Kong.”
- Odgers Berndtson appointed Justin McLennan as managing partner for its Hong Kong office. Mr. McLennan has worked in executive search for over two decades in the Asia Pacific region, focusing on financial services. He has lived and worked in Hong Kong since 1997. Previously, he served as managing director of financial services recruiting boutique Pelham in Hong Kong. He is considered one of the top recruiters in Hong Kong having built several leading equities businesses for investment banks, boutiques and hedge funds, working for a handful of clients and representing their best interests in the Asia region.
- Cornerstone International Group, a global executive search and leadership development firm, named Sonia Vaswani as a managing director in its Hong Kong office. She has more than 15 years in human resource management and is particularly adept at executive search & selection in Hong Kong, China and Asia Pacific. A seasoned business executive and a professional in recruiting for the consumer, retail & sourcing, technology and digital sectors, Ms. Vaswani was previously with AETG as managing director and with HRNetOne Group.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media