Sir Gordon Wu Distinguished Speaker Forum

20th Sir Gordon Wu Distinguished Speaker Forum

Pioneering Digital and Fintech: The Story From A Market Practitioner

George Tan

October 4, 2016, 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Club, 15 W. 43rd Street, New York, NY

As the first foreign/JV insurance company to expand its footprint in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, and a remarkable fintech/e-commerce pioneer in the Chinese market, George Tan, Senior VP at MetLife Inc. and CEO and Board Director at MetLife China has a story to tell.

What you’ll learn:

  • Evolution of digital and fintech in China
  • Challenges from new players
  • Digital and fintech trends in China
  • Opportunities that translate into market expansion

Moderated by William “Bill” Atwell, Managing Director of Atwell Partners, LLC, and former President of Cigna International

Pre-reception begins at 6:30 p.m. Lecture starts promptly at 7:00 p.m. Reception to follow.

Registration is required.  Please register here →

About George Tan

Mr. George Tan has been one of the well-known business leaders in the market with over 25 years of progressively responsible experience in financial services/insurance industry and extensive greater China, Asia, U.S. as well as Europe exposure, through key roles in change management, profit & loss (P&L), mergers & acquisitions (M&A), initial public offerings (IPOs), sales & marketing, strategy, finance, and operation management.

After joining MetLife in 2013, Mr. Tan has been a core member of regional executive committee on top of his leadership position in MetLife China. During his tenure, he has successfully led the company’s operation to an unprecedented 2014 break-even under US GAAP and consecutively achieved remarkable after-tax earnings in 2015. Under his leadership, MetLife China was also relieved from a risky solvency status to a prominent capital position. From 2013 to 2016, the company was continuously ranked one of the top positions in the foreign/JV sector in terms of gross written premium and profit. It was the first foreign/JV insurance company to expand its footprint in Shanghai Free Trade Zone and a remarkable digital/fin tech/e-commerce pioneer in the market.

Mr. Tan's achievements were well recognized in the industry. Most recently, he was named as “Top Leader of the Year 2015 — China Insurance Industry” selected by national netizens, industry authorities, and China Insurance News as well as the “Shanghai Top Talent of the Year 2015 — Financial Industry” by the Shanghai municipal government. In the 2015 Asia Insurance Competitiveness Ranking Report, published by 21st Century Herald and California State University, MetLife China ranked one of the top 10 Chinese Life Insurers as well as the No. 1 in the foreign/JV life insurance sector. Mr. Tan was the recipient of Most Respected, Sector Most Profitabl,e and Most Innovative CEO Awards in China Insurance Industry in 2010, 2012, and 2014, respectively. In addition, he was one of the keynote speakers at 2015 US-China CEO Roundtable, held by US Department of Commerce and China State Council. He has served as an active member of American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. In the meantime, he has acted as one of the keynote speakers and opinion leaders at Global/Asia Pacific/Greater China financial services/insurance industry forums and via other media channels.

Before joining MetLife, Mr. Tan served as Regional Director, Asia and CEO/Board Director, China at Prudential PLC. Prior to Prudential, he worked with Allianz SE, Aetna Inc., and Ping An Group in various senior leadership positions.

George received his MBA degree from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and certificate from Harvard Executive Program. He has been an active member of Wharton, UPenn and Harvard Communities. In addition, he is the co-founder and elected honorary Chairman of the Penn chamber at the SORSA.

About Bill Atwell

William “Bill” Atwell is managing director of Atwell Partners, LLC, which provides consulting expertise to the financial services industry. He retired in 2012 as president of Cigna International, a position he assumed in August 2008. Atwell was responsible for Cigna’s global business unit which delivers access to superior quality healthcare and innovative financial protection programs to businesses, affinity groups, and individuals around the world. He also served four years with Cigna Healthcare, where he was responsible for sales and health plan operations in the United States.

Before being named president of Cigna International, Atwell provided consulting and market insights to the financial services industry while also serving on the Boards of USI Holdings Corporation and Fairfield University. Prior to that, he served for six years as president/EVP with The Charles Schwab Corporation, responsible for a broad array of individual investment and banking products. Atwell spent twenty-three years with Citibank where he last led their retail business in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg. Previously, he was CEO of Citibank (Illinois) and Citibank (NYS).

Atwell is a graduate of C.W. Post College and earned an MBA from Long Island University. He currently serves on the boards of Fairfield University (past chairman), the Eisenhower Fellowship Foundation, AQR Mutual Funds, and Webster Financial Corporation.  Previously, he has served on the boards of the Securities Industry Association, DePaul University, Chicago United, Steppenwolf Theatre (president), and as past vice chair of the Cigna & CMC Life Insurance Company of China.

About the Forum

The Sir Gordon Wu Distinguished Speaker Forum at Columbia Business School promotes the academic study and professional understanding of China's economy and business practices. By bringing recognized business leaders and policymakers to New York to share their perspectives on this vital region, the Sir Gordon Wu Speaker Forum informs and engages Columbia Business School faculty, students and alumni through an active dialogue about China and its prospects in the 21st century. The lecture takes place twice a year, in the fall and spring. Chazen signature events are open to Columbia Business School alumni, current students and their guests.

The Sir Gordon Wu Distinguished Speaker Forum at Columbia Business School was made possible by the generosity of Sir Gordon Wu and the Wu family.

Past speakers

Spring 2016: How We Did It: Sustainable Manufacturing at Esquel featuring Marjorie Yang, Chairman, Esquel Group
View photos of the event on Facebook

Fall 2015: The “New Normal" in China's Economy and Financial Industry featuring Weihua Ma, former president and chief executive officer of China Merchants Bank and currently Chairman of National Fund for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (NFTTC).
View photos of the event on Facebook
Read the event recap

Spring 2015: China-US Relations — An Unsustainable Codependency featuring Stephen Roach, Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute of Global Affairs and a Senior Lecturer at Yale’s School of Management.

Fall 2014: Rediscovering the Art of Digital Marketing in China’s Digital Age featuring Tom Doctoroff, CEO, JWT Asia Pacific.
View photos of the event on Facebook
Download the PowerPoint presentation
Read a write-up of the talk

Spring 2014: Hong Kong at a Crossroad: What Strategic Choices Does It Have Amid China's Internationalization? featuring Charles Li, chief executive, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited.
Watch the video
View photos of the event on Facebook

Spring 2013: Can China Remain a Breakout Nation? featuring Ruchir Sharma, Head of Emerging Market Equities and Global Macro, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and author of Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles.
Read the event recap

Spring 2012: Clean Energy: What Makes a Good Investment? featuring Pin Ni, President, Wanxiang America Corp.
Read the event recap

Fall 2011: China: An Insider's View on Investing and Private Equity featuring Shujun Li, Founder and Managing Partner, Trustbridge Partners.
Read the event recap

Spring 2011: Effective Leadership in a Multicultural Work Environment featuring Linda Tsao Yang '48, Chair, Asian Corporate Governance Association; former Ambassador and U.S. Executive Director, Asian Development Bank.
Read the event recap

Fall 2010: Moving Toward a New Business Paradigm, featuring Jack Ma, Founder and Chairman, Alibaba Group.
Read the event recap

Spring 2010: Economic Implications of the Property Market Boom in China and Hong Kong featuring Ronnie Chan, Chairman, Hang Lung Group Limited and Hang Lung Properties Limited; Chairman of the Executive Committee, Better Hong Kong Foundation.
View the video

Fall 2009: Hong Kong Exchange: A Small Player in China's Great Economic Reform featuring Lawrence Fok '76, Executive Vice President, Head of Issuer Marketing Division, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited

Spring 2009: Client Centricity in the Age of Emerging Chinese Global Influence featuring Wei Christianson, CEO, Morgan Stanley China

Spring 2008: Wisdom of Choice, featuring Kai Fu Lee, President, Google, Greater China.

Fall 2007: Real Estate and Policy in China: A Two Way Street, featuring Jun Tang, President, Beijing Land Capital Ltd.

Spring 2007: Investing in China: A New Era Has Arrived, featuring Frank Tang, President, Temasek Holdings (HK) Limited.

Fall 2006: Brand Revolution in the Age of Consumerism: An Olympic Feat for China, featuring Steven Yung, Chairman of the Board, Clear Media Limited.

Spring 2006: Doing Business in China: Outsourcing and Supply Chain Management, featuring Dr. Victor K. Fung, Chairman of Li & Fung.

2005: Perspectives on Investing in China, featuring Sir Gordon Wu and Dean Glenn Hubbard.