Debra Soon to step down from group-level role at Tan Chong International

Debra Soon is leaving her role as head - group corporate management at Tan Chong International. Soon (pictured) joined the company in the fourth quarter of 2018 and oversaw a wide range of functions including HR, IT, customer and dealership experience, events management and training. Her remit spanned 11 countries in the Asian and Southeast Asia region. 

"This role has been very interesting for me and I learnt so much along the way. I will miss working with all my excellent colleagues and especially the deputy chairman and MD Glenn Tan. It has been a privilege and I wish them all the best," Soon told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. It is understood that Soon is leaving at the end of the month to take on an opportunity in a new field. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Tan Chong International for comment.

Soon joined Tan Chong from Mediacorp where she held several leadership roles including CMO, chief customer officer, and head family (English) and premier, TV operations. According to her LinkedIn, she was also Channel NewsAsia's MD for more than five years and spent 24 years in the media industry.

In a previous interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE done in conjunction with International Women's Day 2019, Soon said she has never thought of herself as a female boss. "If I'm a boss, I'm a boss. I never thought my gender had anything to do with the decisions I made," she explained when asked what has been the toughest thing about being a female boss. 

She is also not too bothered about employees being harder on female bosses. In fact, she believes that if one is a boss, he or she has to be opinionated. "Otherwise, you should not be a boss. You have to make decisions every day, and very often, that will impact people and the business and the partners," she said, adding:

As a boss, whatever you do impacts people at the end of the day, and you have to be tough. Not all decisions are pleasant.

While it is important for those at the top to be competent, Soon said individuals also need to have the courage to make decisions, which is key in taking responsibility and leading. "If you are tough, people will call you a b*tch. If you're not, people will say you are indecisive. I am guided by my views and instinct, which come from knowledge, experience and gut feel," she explained. According to Soon, she has no issues making decisions or taking responsibility when things go south because that represents authenticity.

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