HR in the Hot Seat: David Serés, HR Director South East Asia and South Korea, Boehringer Ingelheim

by Lucy Hook13 Sep 2016
What is your job title and what brought you into this role?
My job title is HR Director South East Asia and South Korea. Over the years Boehringer Ingelheim has given me fantastic opportunities to work in several countries holding different roles. After my stay at our Headquarters in Germany I was offered to take over my current role in Singapore, which was the most exciting job I could have been offered.

What motivates or excites you the most about your current position?
These are exciting times at Boehringer Ingelheim, times of major transformations. The Human Pharma business is growing double digit in our region as well as the Animal Health business. The Consumer Health Care business is also successfully performing in markets on where competitors are very strong. To be part of it and having the chance to contribute makes me feel privileged. The most motivating out of it is to realize how passionate and committed our people are; the energy and enthusiasm to make our company to succeed. Our business is pretty unique in the sense we sell products that either save lives or make quality life better. This give us an additional motivation in our daily work.

What is unique about HR?
HR is the nerves and the joints that power the company. We ensure the machine works and is “well oiled”. We have a holistic view throughout all areas and departments, so we have a key role in providing a common vision on key topics. We enable the business by dealing with PEOPLE. They are our main asset and HR needs to ensure they are ready for the new challenges to come. 

What will HR’s biggest challenges be for the coming year?
Customers’ advanced needs and speed of changes in our business environment make our company to deal with major transformations. This not only requires an optimal set-up of the organization but also a work style characterized by accountability, agility an entrepreneurial spirit across all functions. HR’s role will be critical to help our employees see changes as an opportunity and to drive collaboration in order to create a competitive advantage that will benefit both the business and our people.  

What has been the strangest HR scenario you’ve ever experienced?
In my experience as an HR practitioner I’ve learnt a lot from different cultures, people and situations. Sometimes I’ve been in pretty unique situations which in any case made me reflect and appreciate how diverse human beings are.

If there’s one piece of HR-related advice you could give, what would it be?
Be part of the business, listen to people, bear in mind that a new day means a new opportunity to learn something, stay humble, be pragmatic and … deliver!

Where’s the best place to go for dinner/drinks in Singapore? Why?
There are fantastic places to go in Singapore. Just to say something different, try FOC. This is a casual restaurant where you can taste Catalan food.