Ex-MBB consultants take up leadership roles at eBay and Go-Jek

25 February 2019 Consultancy.asia 3 min. read

Indonesian ride-hailing unicorn Go-Jek has appointed ex-McKinsey strategy consultant Lien Choong Luen as its new General Manager for Singapore, while former BCG partner Jay Lee has been promoted to Senior Vice President at online retail giant eBay.

After joining the ecommerce giant in 2004 as general manager of eBay’s Asia Pacific business, Jay Lee has steadily climbed the ranks, last year taking on the managing director role for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East & Africa). Now, Lee has been promoted again, to Senior Vice President, General Manager, Markets – overseeing eBay across all of its geographic regions, including cross-border trade, after an organisational restructuring.

“eBay is bringing the company's geographic regions together under one global leadership team that will be led by Jay Lee,” the company said in a statement following criticism from investors. “Lee has played an instrumental role in eBay’s growth and success over the years. He has driven a relentless focus on the customer, guided growth in both regions (APAC & EMEA), established eBay as a world leader in cross-border trade and established market leading positions in key countries like Korea and Australia.

Prior to joining eBay, Lee served for two years as the CEO of Thrunet, a NASDAQ-listed broadband internet service company, before which he was a partner with Boston Consulting Group – the first Korean admitted to the strategy and management firm’s partnership ranks. Lee joined BCG in 1992, following an MBA from Harvard Business School and earlier B.A. in International Relations from Brown University.Ex-MBB consultants take up leadership roles at eBay and Go-JekMeanwhile, former McKinsey & Company Southeast Asia head for the McKinsey Centre of Government, Lien Choong Luen, has been named as the new general manager for ride-hailing start-up Go-Jek’s operations in Singapore. Launched in 2015 by fellow McKinsey alumnus Nadiem Makarim, Go-Jek has since rocketed to unicorn status – now valued at around $10 billion, and is reportedly seeking an advisor to bring in up to $2 billion more in funding.

Last year, the company announced it had set aside $500 million for international expansion, with aggressive moves into Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore – the latter market of which will now be headed by Lien Choong Luen, who crosses after two years as a long-term strategist with the National Research Foundation (NRF), Singapore’s research & development body aimed at driving enterprise and innovation.

Before joining the NRF, Luen spent five years with McKinsey in Shanghai, heading up the management and strategy giant’s Southeast Asian Centre for Government, with his time at the firm including a five-month stint in Sierra Leone leading the post-Ebola crisis healthcare reconstruction efforts for the government. “Lien brings a range of professional and life experience to the team. His deep understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship makes him a fantastic choice for Go-Jek,” said company president Andre Soelistyo.

In addition to his professional pursuits, the 41-year-old London Business School MBA graduate, former military commando, and East Timor UN peacekeeper is an avid outdoor adventurist – including being the second ever Singaporean to summit both Mount Everest and K2. Not to be completely outdone, eBay’s new General Manager for Markets, Jay Lee, once had to choose between joining the Korean Olympic Wrestling team or pursuing university studies in the US.