Ian Watson is the current CEO of Cellcard, a position he has held since 2012. He also is the Group CEO for Royal Groups ICT Division. His first leadership position was in JCB, where Watson worked for six years. Other positions he has held include the COO for Orange PCS Ltd, Vice President of Operations for Brightpoint Inc., and COO of Iris Wireless for five years.
These positions have shaped him into a capable leader who has his sights set high in the telecommunication industry. Here are a few more facts to let you know more about this visionary CEO.
1. He Does Not Stay in His Comfort Zone
Some people are comfortable staying where they are, while others push the limits. Watson belongs to the latter group; when he sets a goal, he works hard to achieve it before setting another. When he joined Cellcard, Watson found that the telecom company was still dragging its feet in having Cambodia adopt the 4G network.
He ensured that 90% of the country was covered by Cellcard 4G LTE network within six years. The CEO then moved the goalpost and wanted the company to conduct 5G trials and become the first to launch a 5G network in the Kingdom.
2. His Advice to Other CEOs
They say unity is strength, and Watson is a staunch believer in this saying, going by how much he cherishes teamwork. In his interview with Insights Success, he explained that he is not a know-it-all manager, thus welcomes new ideas from his team, ready to learn from them every day. He emphasized that a good leader is only as good as the people he works with; therefore, one must ensure he has the right people around him.
3. He Prefers a Laid-back Approach in Leadership
If you happen to land a job at Cellcard, Watson will not be looking over your shoulder as you work. He does not micromanage and puts his trust in his team, expecting them to deliver good results. He believes it is crucial that leaders follow this type of leadership so that employees are free to do what they think needs to be done without someone breathing down their neck.
4. He Has a Soft Spot for Youth Employees
When he talked to Aspioneer, Watson could not help but reveal how much he enjoys being around youthful people. He even admitted that one of the things that attracted him to Cellcard was the youthful population. The CEO loves the dynamic energy of the youth, and he feels inspired. As a result, most of the employees of Cellcard are in their 30s. Since Watson loves taking on fresh ideas, the youth is always ready to provide them, and he offers the workforce space to air whatever is on their mind.
5. What He Wants People to Remember Him For?
We all have different ideas of what we would like to be remembered for; others have already written down what they would like carved on their tombstones. Mandy Hale said that you should be good to people because you will be remembered for your kindness, not for the success you have attained. Watson is not following Hale's advice; he wants people to remember him for his integrity and ability to get things done in a controlled way. He added that he also hoped to be remembered for his loyalty and respect for his team.
6. He Aims to Offer Customers Value for Their Money
Khmer Times published in March 2020 that Cellcard was the first telecommunications company in South East Asia to provide its customers a platform in which they can convert digital currency into top-ups for their mobile phones. Watson explained that they aimed to improve digital literacy and give customers extra value saying that for only $3, a customer could have a data and voice plan for a month. The impressive step was enabled by collaboration with Electroneum, a UK-based firm that, through its smartphone application, provides a digital payment ecosystem.
7. He Has Been in the Cellular Industry for Over 25 Years
Some people like to keep trying their luck in different industries. Even employers do not like to see a prospective employee's resume that shows he cannot stay in one place for more than a few years. Although, of course, Watson has been an employee of different companies, he has remained in the cellular industry for more than 25 years. Consequently, he has seen the transition from 2G, 3G, 4G and spearheaded the adoption of 5G in Cambodia. As a result of being in the industry for this long, he is among the oldest in Cellcard; most of Cellcard's employees are in their 30s.
8. He Lives in Cambodia and the UK
It would be great to have the luxury of living in more than one country, but that is usually reserved for those who have a lot of money to spare. Watson is among the lucky few who can afford to live in two countries. He told Business APAC that he resides in both the UK and Cambodia. Although he does not detail why he finds it necessary to live in two countries, it is safe to assume that his work necessitates living in Cambodia while his family is back in the UK.
9. He Prides Himself in His Performance Track Record
From the way Watson talks about his past work experience, you can tell how proud he is of the various capacities he has served in different companies. He said he had delivered stellar customer experience and had been appointed as the CEO of Cellcard after his successful turnaround of Wing Cambodia. You can tell the pride he has working for Cellcard, describing it as Cambodia's longest-serving mobile telecom company.
10. What is the Backbone of His Success as a CEO?
Watson believes the only thing that has fueled the success of Cellcard is his ability to be visible and approachable. By adopting an open-door policy, he gets to ensure that anyone who wants to talk to him gets the opportunity. Besides, they hold weekly meetings to ensure that they all have the same goal and vision, as he assesses who has the motivation to help meet the objectives.
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Written by Allen Lee
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