SPIA Asia / Awards Committee
The Awards Committee, which serves as an advisory board to the SPIA ASIA – Asia’s Sports Industry Awards, is composed of carefully selected experts representing various fields of the sporting industry. As such, the collective insights of the committee contributes to the development of sound approaches and agendas necessary to the conduct of SPIA Asia – Asia’s Sports Industry Awards & Conference. The awards committee members are also members of the judging panel.
Mr. Col Ruj Saeng-Udom
Mr. Ben Heyhoe Flint
Ben is the founder of ASN (Asia Sponsorship News) – the leading commercial intelligence service for the Content & Sponsorship industry in Asia which he co-founded in 2007 – and the CEO of ASN’s sister start-up Maxplora, a “Tinder for Sponsorship”, accelerating the discovery and connection of buyers and sellers of sponsorship rights.
He is recognised as a highly experienced practitioner and commentator in the branded entertainment industry after 15 years in Asia, leading specialist teams at Omnicom Media Group (Fuse), Ogilvy & Mather and Nielsen (Repucom). He also judged the Branded Entertainment categories at Cannes Lions and Spikes in their inaugural year.
His experience covers almost all facets of the business: technology & data, strategic consulting (e.g. SingTel’s sponsorship of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix), content creation (e.g. executive production of Health Promotion Board’s awarded drama series, “Click”), research & analytics, activation (e.g. AIG’s sponsorship of Manchester United across 21 Asian markets), rights representation & event management (Asian Tour) and talent management (Davie Brown Entertainment).
Away from the office, like his cricketing parents, Ben plays or watches anything involving a bat and ball, nowadays usually in the company of his 2 young sons. Away from sports, he loves reading, cryptic crosswords and is dangerously addicted to OTT content. He has been a freelance TV presenter with Fox Sports and Sony Pictures (AXN) and is a regular industry commentator in mainstream media and conferences. You can follow Ben’s personal industry comments @benheyhoeflint and more politically correct news and insights via ASN’s official channel @AsiaSN.
ASN has been the leading independent source of industry intelligence for Branded Content (& Sponsorship, Native Advertising, Influencer etc) in Asia since 2007 and is a must-have resource for anyone operating in the industry.
Our founders – having spent 40 years collectively within the industry in Asia – realised years ago that there was a black hole of information when it came to Sponsorship in Asia. Now – with brand spend in the medium growing as fast as paid digital spend – our news, data & decision making tools help 3,000+ Content and Sponsorship professionals make smarter investment decisions in Asia.
Mr. Malcolm Thorpe
Malcolm Thorpe has extensive experience working in sports in Asia, with over 24 years of cumulative experience running various sports verticals throughout the region. Malcolm joined Lagardère Sports in May 2013, based in Singapore, with his main role being to develop sports event programming for the Group in Asia. Focussed initially around the Group’s commitments with the Singapore Sports Hub, Malcolm was responsible for securing and operating some of the biggest events in the Sports Hub calendar, including Japan v Brazil in 2014 and the Premier League’s Barclays Asia Trophy in 2015. In addition to his on-going role with the Sports Hub project, Malcolm is now also responsible for Lagardère Sports business development across the Asia region.
Malcolm’s sports marketing career began when he joined IMG as a lawyer in London in 1992. He moved to New Delhi in 1995 to set up IMG’s India operations, including football, tennis, golf and cricket. In 1998 Malcolm relocated to Hong Kong and ran IMG’s football business across Asia for 8 years, representing many national football federations and organising tours and matches for the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid and England. Malcolm left IMG in 2005 and moved to the Middle East, becoming Sports Business Director at Dubai Sports City, where he was responsible for establishing the sports event and marketing strategy for the project. From 2010 to 2013, Malcolm worked with Blenheim Chalcot, a UK-based investment group, on a variety of businesses, primarily in India, including online betting, sports-related internet and mobile technologies and the Rajasthan Royals IPL franchise.
Originally from Yorkshire, England, Malcolm is married to Pooja and they have three children aged 14, 12 and 10.
Mr. Christopher Robb
Brief: Chris is a 30-year veteran of the mass participation sports events industry where he had built businesses in Australia and Singapore in that time span. He is the CEO of Mass Participation Asia and in late 2015, published his first book titled ‘Mass Participation Sports Events’. He is an avid speaker at conferences and is a mentor for other business owners and entrepreneurs through the Key Person of Influence program.
Detail: Chris Robb is the CEO of Mass Participation Asia and author of ‘Mass Participation Sports Events – unlock the secrets to this complex and exciting industry’. Born in Zimbabwe where he grew up on a farm, Chris organized his first fun run at the age of 16 to help raise funds for the resurfacing of his school “cinder” athletics track. From there, he moved to University in South Africa where he cut his teeth in the industry and spent as much time organising and working on events, like the world famous Comrades Marathon and South African Marathon Championships as he did studying for his Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Agricultural Management Degrees. After leaving university, he spent four years traveling through Europe, America, Asia and Australia before settling in Sydney in 1989 where he founded Spectrum Worldwide. One of his career highlights came in the year 2000 when Chris worked on the Sydney Olympics as the Road Events Supervisor. In 2002, he expanded the business to Singapore to deliver the inaugural JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. Spectrum Worldwide went on to deliver some of the region’s largest mass participation sports events including the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (55,000) runners and the Cycle Asia network of events that attracts nearly 25,000 cyclists to events in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia.
Spectrum Worldwide was sold to IRONMAN in 2016 after which Chris assumed the role of CEO at Mass Participation Asia, an annual conference for stakeholders across the industry to get together with the objective of fostering collaboration and driving best practices. Chris is passionate about all sports, especially cycling and running and the fact that he has taken part in so many events as a participant gives him a unique insight into what his customers want. He also takes pride in that he has seen over a million participants cross the finish line safely in his career. There are very few people with Chris’s depth and breadth of knowledge in the mass participation sports industry. He lives in Bali with his wife Tet and son Sam.
Mrs. Cynthia Norton
10 years of untainted integrity in Philippine government service. A health enthusiast herself, she spent her life promoting sports, fitness, and health/wellness tourism in the Philippines and throughout the world.
Thrice proved that a Filipino is world-class and globally competitive for receiving three coveted international awards:
100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World Award
Conferred by the Global Filipina Women Network USA, 2016
2009 Fitness Trainer of the Year
Conferred by the International Dance Exercise Association (IDEA) Los Angeles, California, USA
2003 Asia’s Best in Women and Sport
over almost 100 individual and organization contenders (An award conferred by the International Olympic Committee Lausanne, Switzerland, March 21, 2003)
Showcased quality leadership by holding top positions in several respectable international non-profit organizations.
Pioneered, introduced and lobbied to the Philippines: medical tourism (2005); sports and wellness tourism (2003); and, health and fitness (1997)
Mr. Daniel Parr
Dan moved to Hong Kong in 2005 to take advantage of the growth opportunities in the APAC region. Dan joined Fast Track in November 2010 as Director of Fast Track Hong Kong with the remit to build and develop the business in Asia Pacific. In 2014 the business expanded into Singapore and Dan oversees both Fast Track offices. Dan specializes in sponsorship strategy, activation and communications and has worked with a number of blue chip clients during his career including Diageo, Vodafone, UBS, Standard Chartered, Pernod Ricard, HSBC, AIA and Metlife.
Dan is married with three children and in his spare time enjoys exploring Hong Kong’s wonderful country trails, adventure racings, and ultramarathon running.
Mr. Jin Wei Toh
Jinwei has over 11 years of experience working within the Sports and Entertainment sector. During his career, Jinwei has worked with some of the biggest agencies and has been responsible for some of the most well-known sponsorship projects within Asia which include; The Singapore Flyer, Youth Olympic Games, The Lion King Musical, Suntec City LG Partnership, The Causeway Trophy, Indonesian Masters, Macau Open, AIA KPOP events, Chinese Super League, Prudential Entertainment Series, One Championship and The Music Run, amongst many others.
Jinwei’s extensive sponsorship sales background in Sport, Entertainment, Media & Content provides an in-depth commercial view of the Asian sports landscape and its opportunities.
His current role as Senior Vice President (Head of Sales/ Events) of IMG in APAC sees him leveraging on his commercial experience in providing strategic advice and consultation to brands looking to expand and establish themselves in Asia.
Ms. Lee Huei Chern
Huei Chern is a marketing and communications specialist who had led many award-winning campaigns for both local and international brands, including Sentosa and Johnnie Walker. Her credentials also include stints with industry leaders such as Mediacorp, Dow Jones International, O&M, MindShare and Starcom Mediavest Group.
At Sport Singapore, she led the communications and engagement campaigns for Team Singapore, the 28th Southeast Asian Games and the 8th ASEAN Para Games, breaking many new grounds with innovative PR, digital and community outreach initiatives and programmes that not only resonated with the region but also rallied the nation to turn up in unprecedented numbers at the two major games. These campaigns had since garnered many best-in-class awards in Singapore and the region.
Mr. Josh Black
Josh is a highly driven marketer with 20+ years of experience in brand marketing, advertising, content marketing and media.
Josh was the former CEO for GroupM’s Content division across the APAC region. The business operates across 16 markets and comprises the largest network of brand-focused content agency businesses (embedded within the GroupM media management agencies) in the Asia Pacific region with over 300 dedicated specialists developing content strategy, production, measurement, optimization and integration for some of the world’s largest advertisers and brands – including Unilever, P&G, PepsiCo, Colgate and Ford, as well as many others.
Before joining GroupM Josh spent 10 years working at PepsiCo International in various regional Brand Marketing roles and has lived and worked in Bangkok, Singapore, Sydney, Manila and Hong Kong.