Former Deloitte analyst Sophia Lim named new Adecco co-CEO

23 September 2019 3 min. read

Global human resources leader Adecco has a new CEO; ex-Deloitte business analyst Sophia Lim, who at just 24 years of age will help guide the Fortune Global 500 firm over the coming month.

In what can only be described as a meteoric rise to the top of the international business world, 24 year-old Hong Kong native Sophia Lim has after only one year of professional experience as a business analyst with Deloitte been named as the new co-CEO of global human resources firm Adecco. “I am thrilled to be joining the Adecco Group to work alongside [existing CEO] Alain Dehaze and help shape my career, and the future of work,” commented Lim on her appointment.

Despite a rigorous eight-month selection process, Lim’s appointment will only however be for the coming month, as the winner of Adecco’s ‘Global CEO for One Month’ initiative – which will see her shadow Dehaze and contribute to the day-to-day running of a Fortune Global 500 firm with 34,000 employees in 60 countries generating annual revenues in excess of $22 billion. Lim was selected from among the more than 260,000 applicants worldwide.

“Apprenticeships and experiential learning, combined with a commitment to life-long learning, are key to preparing Gen Z to lead,” said Dehaze. “Sophia will be working alongside me as I meet with customers and clients to help enable their HR success, and ensure the optimal running of our business through our regular operational reviews around the world. Our CEO for One Month programme demonstrates the power of on-the-job training that is so critical in developing our future leaders.”

Former Deloitte analyst Sophia Lim named new Adecco co-CEO

Earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s School of Business and Management, Lim caught her first career break as a financial services intern for Big Four professional services firm PwC, before completing three-month corporate strategy and business development & operations internships with The Walt Disney Company and Microsoft in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

From there, Lim joined Deloitte in New York, serving for just over a year as a business technology analyst until the end of 2018. In February, Lim applied to the CEO for One Month programme, and was selected as one of the 46 Country ‘CEOs for One Month’ for Hong Kong, where she tailed Adecco Hong Kong and Macau Managing Director Janet Pottinger in July. This week, she emerged from among ten finalists at a bootcamp in Dusseldorf as Adecco’s new CEO.

“Experiential learning like this is the best way to prepare my generation to lead – and to become future CEOs. I can’t wait to get started,” said Lim on the announcement. Dehaze responded in kind; “I look forward to working alongside Sophia, helping her develop new skills, and in a form of reverse mentoring, learning from her insights on the future of work and leadership. As the world of work evolves and technology transforms how jobs are performed, leadership skills are shifting.”

To coincide with the CEO for One Month announcement, Adecco took the opportunity to release the results of a survey among some 5,000 Gen-Z ‘leaders of tomorrow’ which examined the expected skills and qualities required of the next generation of C-Suite leaders – with seven out of ten citing soft skills, such as the ability to successfully manage people and teams, communication proficiency and creativity, as being of more importance that hard skills in 2050.