Spotlight on Ling-Sze Gan: New Head of News Agency Sales, Asia - Reuters News Agency

Spotlight:
Ling-Sze Gan,
new Head of News Agency Sales, Asia

May 24, 2019

Ling-Sze Gan, Head of News Agency Sales – Asia, joined Reuters in Singapore this month. Ling-Sze will lead a team of sellers across Asia and be responsible for growing business in the region.

Ling-Sze brings more than 20 years of experience in international media businesses to this role. Most recently she was head of sales for NBC Universal (Asia) and, prior, held a variety of roles at Sony Pictures Entertainment (Asia), A+E Networks (Asia), Group M, Discovery Networks Asia and BBC Worldwide.  

To learn more about Ling-Sze, read on…

What are you most looking forward to at Reuters?

To maintain its pole position, Reuters talks about “Newsroom of the Future” and the company is in midst of re-organizing itself. There is a general sense of change and optimism in the business, and that is very much what I look forward to. I am looking forward to this change and playing a part in growing the business in new territories.To maintain its pole position, Reuters talks about “Newsroom of the Future” and the company is in midst of re-organizing itself. There is a general sense of change and optimism in the business, and that is very much what I look forward to. I am looking forward to this change and playing a part in growing the business in new territories.

What opportunities for growth do you see in the region?

Demand for news and information are no longer limited to newspapers, radio and broadcast stations in the manner I was accustomed to, growing up. Many of these organizations have developed their own digital platforms to reach out to their existing consumers and to draw in new ones. In recent years, digital publishers and social media have become part of the “pipe” for news dissemination. With AI business developing around the world, news & information is in demand by these companies as well. I am hopeful that we will be able to tap into these opportunities to grow Reuters News Agency business in this region.

You’ve worked for many international companies – what are the challenges of working for such organizations?

The nature of most international companies is that they are large, and functions / specialization expand over time. Eventually, there are many divisions with each one delivering a very specific and specialized role, operating in silos. Changes in the marketplace brought about by digital disruption also mean that the “rules of the game” have changed. Strategic thinking is needed for commercial success, and that comes about only if one has a 360-degree view of the business. Acting out of one’s specialized function and / or responsibility in isolation is not good for the company. Engagement with external business partners should be one that is “whole” and not in parts. Big international companies realise that, and each one is in its own stages of re-organisation.

Can you share an example of something of which you are most proud, maybe a biggest win or personal sales victory?

Previously, I had a client who was on the edge of terminating an agreement with the company I worked for at the time, for an asset that was in decline. At the same time, the client was in the process of formulating their digital strategy and their mind was open to ideas. Together with my team member, we successfully pitched some new digital products, rolling this into the same negotiation. In the end, not only did we expand business with the client, the digital assets were launched sooner than expected. I was able to “orchestrate” all that externally only because I was able to convince a couple of internal divisions to allow for my division to take on this negotiation – as a whole – and not in parts. Since then, it has triggered a change in the way the company takes some of their businesses forward. To me, that is a “win” both externally and internally.

What made you interested in sales as a career?

The world moves fast, and it moves even faster these days. In business, a lot of movement happens because consumers move, and that is from the ground-up. Being in sales gives me first-hand interaction with clients / platforms who are expert in their own respective countries and consumer sectors. In these exchanges, I learn so much about what’s going on in the industry, including information and nuances not found in business reports. Such knowledge is invaluable for formulating business ideas and strategies. On top of that, there is also the people element. In my many years of sales job, many clients across cultures have become friends, and that is most satisfying!

What is your favorite country to visit / vacation in Asia? Outside of Asia?

Travelling is about enriching oneself. I like places that are different from home – places that have a long history, places with their own unique set of culture and friendly people. I also love visiting places that are fast-developing and in transition; there is just a vibrancy and optimism not found elsewhere.

Can you share a fun or interesting fact about yourself, not on your resume?

I had a few hobbies when I was younger. Dance has developed itself into a passion. There was a time in my life that I trained four-five hours a day, every day. Taking part in dance competitions gave me the joy like no other. I have stopped dancing for more than a decade now. Three years back, I wanted to go back to dance – and out of my anxiousness to claim back past “glory,” I did a leap without any warm up and ended up with a broken Achilles Tendon. Lesson learned: never behave like a 20-something in a dance studio when you are a 40-something (especially after not practicing it for long time)!!!