KONG Kim Yihe’s name does not ring a bell in the minds
of many people in the insurance industry and that's the way he likes it.
The man behind insurance giant Great Eastern Life
Assurance (M) Sdn Bhd's information technology (IT) strategies likes
to maintain a low profile.
“I am a quiet person who likes to focus on getting the job
done,” said Kong, the executive vice-president and head of information
technology, operations and strategic planning, told StarBiz.
Kong, in his thirties, said that his career in IT happened
very much by accident.
“I studied electrical and electronic engineering in
university and was only exposed to IT during my internship year when
I spent six months in Hewlett Packard Singapore (HP) undergoing industrial
training,” he said, adding that he was bitten by the IT bug then.
Upon graduation he was reaccepted into HP and has
never looked back since.
“IT work requires a lot of focus and long hours
but it all boils down to what you want to do, if you like such challenges,
it's a breeze,” Kong said.
He added that he derived much satisfaction in obtaining
real IT achievement, developing new applications and going into areas
no one had gone before.
The biggest breakthrough for Kong in Great Eastern
was its agent empowerment programme launched in July where agents were
empowered with information to be efficient in doing business without
physically coming into the office.
“With the programme we hope to decrease the number of
walk-ins and call-ins from our agents by 50% by the end of the year,” he
Kong said that Great Eastern received about 2,000
walk-ins and call-ins per day.
A very task-oriented manager, Kong believes in pushing
his staff to the extreme to produce results.
“Having been shaped by years of competitive academic
environment, I believe everyone should try to excel in everything that
they do,” he said.
A high achiever, Kong graduated with a B.Eng (Hons)
in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a Masters in Business
Administration from the National University of Singapore.
He was also a student of the Victoria Institution
and a recipient of Singapore's Asean scholarship for his A-levels.
Describing himself as a cordial and amiable person,
he can also be very focused and tough, when the need arises.
His guiding philosophy in life is to be the very best
in whatever he does, as a student to excel in studies, and as a
professional to excel in his career.
“I expect to be still involved in IT and operations
in the next five years. There are still a lot of new challenges to
be addressed in the insurance industry, especially in view of the
liberalisation of the financial industry soon,” he said.
On career in the IT industry, Kong said prospects
were very good for people with sound technical and business skills
as it was difficult to find those who could excel in both areas.
His words of advice to people going into the IT line:
“Be prepared to work long hours, be focused as the
road will be very tough and challenging, but always remember that
when you succeed the results will be there waiting,” said the father
A keen sportsperson, Kong used to be very active
in soccer and hockey.
“Now, I play soccer with my old friends from my
schooling days and friends in the IT industry as a form of relaxation,”
he said, adding that he also watched television and read to relax.
Kong joined Great Eastern as its chief information
technology officer in January 2002.
Prior to that, he was with the Phileo Allied
Banking group as general manager of its group information technology.