Wiser and Willing – Dr Donald Chen

Dr Donald Chen
Dr Donald Chen

Dr Donald Chen has no problem allocating his attention to three very different businesses. His Vistage experience has given him confidence and leadership skills to overcome any business challenge.

Dr Donald Chen is an extraordinary CEO in that he oversees three very different businesses – Environmental Health Sciences, Realty and Winery. He faces challenges in all three businesses but believes that Vistage has helped him to become a wiser and more willing leader who can overcome any challenge.

Donald describes the wisdom that comes from his fruitful Vistage experience, ‘It adds a new dimension of progressive cross business culture of learning, sharing and non-binding smart partnership in achieving something larger than personal and corporate goals’. Through the years, he has been exposed to lessons on the ‘full cycle of business growth’ – how CEOs build up their business, how they go for IPO and later how they take the company private.

Donald acknowledges that the learning process in his 13-year membership in Vistage has changed him as a leader. He has developed his own style of leadership by assimilating the best traits of other CEOs. Before Vistage, Donald reveals that he was introverted, too modest and too laid-back. He is now a ‘more willing CEO’ because he is more confident, proactive, open-minded and willing to share and lead.

The wisdom and learning that Donald has experienced are put to good use in three varied businesses. By training, he holds a doctorate in Public Health (Dr PH) specialized in Environmental Health Sciences. He is the founder of Sras Berhad, a company that provides products and services in environmental health sciences, biomedical and biotechnology. Due to family ties, Donald is executive director of Chen Choy and Sons Realty Sdn Bhd, a major shareholder of listed Metro Kajang Holdings Berhad. By personal passion Donald is also the founder of Rem Corporation Sdn Bhd, the only full-fledged winery-cum-distillery in Malaysia which manufactures fruit wine and herbal liqueur.

Sras Berhad is in a highly specialised business and it is difficult to secure projects from companies in Malaysia. But Donald is happy that his professional credentials in this field have been recognized, with his appointment as Adjunct Professor (2009-2013) at the Department of Environmental Health, International Medical University. This recognition augurs well for Sras Berhad, but securing projects for the company remains a challenge.

Donald plans to re-activate his sluggish family business, together with his brothers. Chen Choy and Sons Realty, which had its origins in the 1980s is involved mainly in property development. He foresees challenges in reviving operations and building up cash flow. The winery business is well established and has good growth potential. Thanks to Vistage, Donald has taken action to diversify product range and differentiate products to meet consumer demand.

Rem Corporation is currently an OEM producer of specialized wines and liquor for various companies. Its exotic range includes red and white wine, ginseng and ginger wine, fruit brandy, dragon fruit wine, honey wine, tomato wind and calamansi wine. Donald says the winery’s ability to produce all kinds of wine from various herb and fruits, besides the usual grapes, makes it stand out from the rest. He adds that the company continues to develop new wine products based on ‘research and imagination’.

How does Donald cope with three business interests? He replies that he has trained the relevant down lines and has the proper systems in place. As a wiser and more willing CEO, he has full confidence in delegation and enjoys his different commitments.

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