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Leo Liu: digitalisation as a new way of life

Leo Liu, CTO at Dentsu Aegis, explains how to lead a team effectively despite disruptions like COVID-19 and why ‘digital’ is vital for modern business

Leo Liu
Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific

CTO

Graduating from UC Berkeley School of Information in 1996, Leo Liu is a proud, self-proclaimed technologist with over 20 years of experience.

Joining Dentsu Aegis in 2018, Leo brought with him a wealth of tech experience gained from previous positions at industry luminaries like Tesla and Cisco. “I’ve loved technology ever since I was young. I was fortunate to be part of some very innovative technology companies and witness the internet's evolution over the past 20 years,” he says. “I'm intrigued by digital transformation and passionate to help companies with their digital transformation journey.” Dentsu Aegis Network was the first media network Leo has joined and he saw a great opportunity to be able to drive digital transformations for both the company and its clients (representing a diverse spread of industries, countries and markets).

When it came time for Leo to formulate his approach to the CTO role, he relates that the leadership styles he’d worked under previously influenced him greatly. “One thing I learned from great leaders like Elon Musk (Tesla) and John T. Chambers (Cisco) is that they have a vision, a higher purpose to impact the world positively. It is important to have a vision which people can relate to and get excited about; a North Star to aim for,” he explains. Taking this philosophy into account, Leo implemented the Vision, Strategy, Execution framework to ensure his team is focused on achieving a long-term plan whilst making progress on execution daily. “Execution without strategy is aimless. Strategy without execution is useless.”

Over the years, he has cultivated a people-centric philosophy which praises the efforts of teams whilst also recognising the value of individuals. “My job is to establish the vision, optimise the structure, streamline the process, encourage with reward and take care of the people.” Leo’s strong leadership style became invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic when remote working abruptly disrupted the norm. “It is a very challenging time for everyone,” he states. “I’m keeping my team focused and motivated to ensure our business continues while the world is locked down. We are also taking this as an opportunity to accelerate digitalisation to make our business faster, better and smarter.”

Leo is confident that Dentsu Aegis Network can be a force for positive change in the ‘new normal’, or post-COVID-19 world. “I think how people live will change forever, both for our generation and for the generation to come,” he concludes. “Digitalisation is the new way of life. This year is the turning point of our digital transformation journey.”

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“Digitalisation is the new way of life. This year is the turning point of our digital transformation journey.”

Leo Liu | CTO, Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific

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