The Spark Community
Spark (formerly CIO Academy Asia) brings together a community of technology and business leaders from across Asia. We actively engage our community in thought leadership programmes and initiatives to create mindshare, share global best practices, lessons learnt and highlight use cases that will enable better outcomes for digital transformation for organisations from different industries.
ENGAGE • EMPOWER • ENRICH
Spark helps leaders succeed in a fast changing world driven by technological advancements.
We create engaging platforms for leaders to open their minds, share insights and catalyse new digital initiatives with the wider community.
The Spark Team comprises of experienced practitioners with diverse backgrounds in academia, event management and digital marketing. The team also believes in working with the younger millennials to tap their creative expertise and perspectives. We work hard and play hard.
Mr William Liu or Bill as he is known, currently serves as the Chairman and Managing Partner of Stream Global Pte Ltd, a venture catalyst in the ICT and IDM space.
Mr William Liu or Bill as he is known, currently serves as the Chairman and Managing Partner of Stream Global Pte Ltd, a venture catalyst in the ICT and IDM space. From 2001 to 2006 he was President of Green Dot Capital Pte Ltd, a Temasek owned company, which invested in start-up and early stage companies, globally. It was also the holding company of Singapore Computer Systems Ltd and SNP Corporation Ltd, both were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.
Prior to joining Green Dot Capital, Mr Liu was from 1993 to 2001, the President & CEO of ABACUS International, Asia’s premier Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and Computer Reservations Systems (CRS) company and a joint venture company with Sabre, Inc of USA. Bill was responsible for its operations and profitable growth that spanned 20 countries in the Asia Pacific.
Prior to joining ABACUS, Mr Liu was International Computers Ltd’s (ICL) Vice President for Asia and concurrently the non-executive Chairman of the Singapore operations. He also served as General Manager of ICL Taiwan for a year in 1992
Professor Annie Koh is Vice President of Business Development, V3 Group Professor of Family Entrepreneurship, Professor of Finance (Practice) at Singapore Management University (SMU). She is also the Academic Director for two-university level institutes – the Business Families Institute and International Trading Institute. Her previous portfolios at SMU included positions as Associate Dean, Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Dean, Office of Executive & Professional Education.
A notable conference speaker, panel moderator and commentator, Annie is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on New Social Contract and, a board member of Prudential Assurance Company Singapore Pte Ltd, and Family Firm Institute, Inc. In addition, she chairs the finance and investment committee of GovTech Singapore Board, and the Asian Bond Fund 2 Supervisory Committee of Monetary Authority of Singapore. She has been an appointed board member of Singapore’s Central Provident Fund since 2012 and served on the SkillsFuture HR Sectoral Tripartite Committee, HR Certification Taskforce. Annie is also a lead independent director of Health Management International Ltd and advises a number of startup firms such as Stashaway and Staff-on-Demand. Annie served on K1 Ventures board from 2013 to 2017.
A Fulbright scholar, Annie earned her PhD in International Finance from Stern School of Business, New York University (1988). Her research interests are in Family Office and Family Business, Investor Behaviour, Alternative Investments and Enterprise Risk Management. She co-authored Financial Management: Theory and Practice, An Asia Edition (2014), and Financing Internationalisation – Growth Strategies for Successful Companies (2004), and author of a number of Asian family business cases and survey reports.
Annie is awarded the Singapore Public Administration Medal, Bronze (2010), Silver (2016), and the Adult Education Prism Award (2017) for her contributions to the education and public sectors.
Gerard Chai is a Senior Client Partner and the Managing Director of Korn/Ferry’s Singapore office. He is a member of the Firm’s Global Technology Market.
With over three decades of experience in the technology marketplace and executive search, Mr. Chai leverages his expertise to identify top leadership talent primarily for technology companies. He works closely with Board and C-suite executives, and has led numerous Board and senior executive search engagements at the regional and global levels. His specialty areas include systems and devices, software, IT consulting and professional services and telecommunications. He has also placed numerous CIOs/IT Heads for end-user organizations across industries. Prior to joining Korn Ferry in 1994, Mr Chai worked for technology companies at NCR, Tandem Computers and Fiserv for over 10 years.
Mr. Chai holds a Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University in Canada and has attended an Executive Management program at Harvard Business School. He is Chairman of Enactus Singapore, the Singapore chapter of a global non-profit organization focused on entrepreneurial action for social good. He is also a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Directors.
Mahendran is the former Vice President & Chief Information Officer of ABB Singapore. Working with the Executive team, Mahendran provide technical leadership, vision and experience.
During his 21 years tenure, he has held various IT roles in governance, regional sourcing and operations management including as Asia Pacific Data Center Manager, which provided core infrastructure & application services to the operating entities in the region.
Mahendran had also served as the Head of Supply Chain & Real Estate. As Head of Supply Chain, he was responsible for managing the supply chain teams and responsible for all business procurement and related activities. As the Head of Real Estate, he supported business activities, by maximising usage of the company’s real estate and assets, aligning real estate goals to the business footprint needs.
Mahendran has led various functions and teams in carrying out activities which supports company strategy, meet performance objectives and customer expectations.
Raju Chellam is a Member of the Singapore NCCAC (National Cloud Computing Advisory Council) under IMDA & Deputy Chair of the COIR (Cloud Outage Incident Response) Group under ITSC (IT Standards Committee). He is also Hon Vice Chairman of the Cloud & Big Data Chapter at SGTech, previously called SiTF (Singapore IT Federation) & Hon Secretary of the Cloud Chapter of SCS (Singapore Computer Society). He has been a Past President of the BCG (Business Continuity Group) at SCS.
He was conferred as an SCS Fellow in March 2018. He is a Senior Advisor with CIO Academy Asia, which helps leaders succeed in a fast-changing world driven by technology advancements.
Grace Chng is a veteran tech writer and observer based in Singapore. She has wide experience setting up and managing editorial teams in Singapore and in the Asia-Pacific. She has interviewed the world’s leading tech CEOs including the late Steve Jobs, Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates, AirBnB’s co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, Strike’s co-founder John Collison, Catcha Group chairman Patrick Grove and Lazada’s CEO Maximilian Bittner.
Grace has layered on innovation and entrepreneurship on top of her extensive knowledge of the global tech industry, thus able to give a more nuanced view of the emerging digital economy. She was involved in the book, The Wonder Years of NCB 1981-1999 and edited two books on Singapore’s tech journey, Innovationation: 25 Years of Infocomm in Singapore and Intelligent Island: Singapore’s Untold Tech Journey.