Hire a CFO and transform your business…

What’s your story?
I currently consult to clients on structuring analytics teams around a Chief Analytics Officer (CAO/CDO). I train analytic leaders and internal recruitment teams on recruitment strategies around Risk/Analytics/Digital setting up a CoE of talent management and assisting/advising on data driven start-up ventures who are developing and growing outside their country of origin.

I am the Founder and former Managing Director of Huntel Global: an international recruitment firm specialized in Analytics and Executive search. Founded in Australia the business grew rapidly with offices in Australia and Hong Kong and through a merger with Drake International grew in Toronto and New York. I left the business in November 2014.  

I graduated from Staffordshire University in 2000, and read for my Ph.D. in Bioceramic Engineering on scholarship at Queen Mary, University of London. I decided to forgo an academic career in favor of Law Enforcement and in 2002, I joined London’s Metropolitan Police.

Moving to Australia in 2006, I explored my entrepreneurial side and opened my first business – a Mobile Coffee Van in Sydney. I later founded a Healthcare Recruitment company and became a business partner in a clothing brand. All three ventures were later sold.

In my free time, I pursue other interests such as a conference speaker, mentor, researcher/writer, as well as contributing time and energy to a number of charities in Australia, Canada, and Sri Lanka. I am an ardent rugby fan and a keen cyclist currently training for the 540 kilometer Great Victoria Bike ride.

What excites you most about your industry?
I don’t have a specific industry. But my main industry would be analytics. It’s relatively new. I have spent many years in the recruitment and consulting industries as well. I have written a couple of papers that have been well received by the global market. To put it into one sentence it would be – I see the actual impact of analytics in day to day life. It’s leading the way and it is cutting edge when it comes to transformation.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Sri Lanka. I founded a company in Australia that grew in Asia with an office in Hong Kong.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Tough one, I love most Asian cities. I have quite a few friends in Singapore and Hong Kong.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Hire a CFO. This actually transformed my business from a local Australian business to a global company with our first office in Asia being opened in Hong Kong. I have received a lot of great advice from many of my mentors, but this certainly transformed my business.

Who inspires you?
My father, Richard Branson and a few notable leaders. Mainly good honest, hard working people who inspire me to do better.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Up until many years ago, many things surprised me and often blew me away. Nothing surprises me anymore, the way the world evolves, people, their accomplishments etc.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing at all.

How do you unwind?
Bike ride and meditation.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
There are many places I haven’t been to. I quite like many parts of Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Everyone in business should read this book:
I can share my book list of 80, from Malcolm Gladwells to Time Paradox. But the one book that changed how I looked at business was Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity.

Shameless plug for your business:
Check out of my LinkedIn – Chami Akmeemana and feel free to connect –

How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn

Twitter handle?
akme_c

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnects

Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

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