17th Asia Business Leaders Awards official nomination will open in due time. Meanwhile, do register your interest with us today so we can update you when the nominations are open

Register Your Interest


CNBC pioneered the annual Asia Business Leaders Awards (ABLA) in 2001 to salute and recognize remarkable business leaders, who through strength, innovation and foresight induce positive changes in an evolving corporate Asia. These business leaders are recognized annually at the awards ceremony which is broadcast globally.

In the lead up to the 16th ABLA, the CNBC Exchange series will explore current topics of interest to business leaders in different countries. Open to a select group of c-level and senior executives, each Exchange features a highly-engaging morning debate with discussion and is followed by a networking session over lunch.

Digital India: The Push for a Cashless Society

Tue, 20 Jun 2017
Mumbai, India

Banking on Growth

Tue, 15 Aug 2017
Jakarta, Indonesia

Southeast Asia’s Start-up Scene

Thu, 7 Sep 2017
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

"CNBC's Asia Business Leaders Awards have grown from strength to strength. We are proud to continue the tradition of providing a platform for business leaders in the region to be globally recognized for their outstanding achievements."

KC Sullivan, President & Managing Director, CNBC International

Award Categories

Asia Business Leader of the Year Award

Recognizes the business leader who makes his/her vision a reality for the company – driving growth, success and profitability in Asia.

Asia Disruptor of the Year Award

Recognizes the business leader who has pioneered innovative business ideas and/or technologies which have had a transformative impact on an industry or sector. (Formerly known as Asia Innovator of the Year Award)

Asia Talent Management Award

Seeks out the business leader who recognizes the importance of talent in both word and deed. This business leader is committed to supporting, developing and retaining talent, as well as nurturing the next generation of leaders in Asia.

Corporate Social Responsibility Award

Recognizes the business leader for his/her outstanding contributions to the arts, education, environment and community development.

Country Business Leader of the Year Award

Host country's nominees for the Asia Business Leader of the Year Award will be considered for this award.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Honors the leaders who has, during the course of his/her career, made significant contributions in shaping, growing and developing the economic landscape. (This award is not open for nomination)

To be considered for any of the awards, all award nominees:

  • Must be the final business decision maker in their company;
  • The company must have a registered office in Asia;
  • Can be nominated regardless of gender, age or race; and
  • Must be in their current role for a minimum of 2 years.

IBLA (Open to Shortlisted Indian ABLA Nominees Only)

CNBC along with CNBC-TV18 is proud to carry on this tradition in India with the India Business Leader Awards (IBLA), dedicated to the highest achievers in India's dynamic business market.

The visionaries that have led India's glorious journey from the front are the champions that we salute with the 13th edition of CNBC-TV18's India Business Leader Awards (IBLA), India's most distinguished awards for excellence in leadership.

Click here for more details about IBLA.

"I am honored to be awarded the prestigious CNBC Asia Business Leader of the Year 2016. The award recognizes Kimberly-Clark Asia Pacific for our leadership in innovation, talent and sustainability, and I owe this to my team whose contributions made this award possible."

Achal Agarwal, President, Kimberly-Clark Asia Pacific Pte Ltd

Value of the Award

CNBC recognizes your company as a leader in best business practices and innovative strategies. Only invited companies can nominate their Chairman/CEO for an ABLA award.

By submitting a nomination, your company can reap rewards such as:

  • Greater brand name recognition in Asia, Europe and U.S. via all CNBC global platforms. Media exposure for your company including profiling on cnbc.com.
  • Positioning of your company as a market leader in the eyes of your peers and the media. Reinforcement of your company's commitment to growth.
  • Validation of your company's efforts and giving a vote of confidence that attracts and retains talent.
  • An opportunity to take a critical view of your company's operations.

The Selection Process

Under stringent, objective and transparent criteria, business leaders are judged by an independent panel of world-respected management strategists, academics, corporate personalities and CNBC executives.

Heading the judging panel are representatives from CNBC's long time knowledge partner, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Together with research partner, Development Dimensions International, the distinguished panel conducts a unique three-phase judging process:

Phase One

From a quantitative organization data analysis, the top performers from across Asia are selected and invited to submit their nominations via the nomination form before proceeding to Phase Two.

Phase Two

Face-to-face interviews to assess the candidates' leadership capabilities.

Phase Three

Final selection of winners of the awards.


Click here to view the full list of past ABLA winners.

Mr. Ajay Piramal


Mr. Ajay Piramal

Chairman, Piramal Group, India

Mr. Ajay Piramal is the recipient of the Asia Business Leader of The Year Award 2017 for driving success at Piramal Group, while adhering to the company’s core values of knowledge, action, care, and impact. Under his leadership, the company has become one of India’s foremost business conglomerates, operating in 30 countries and having a brand presence in over 100 countries. Piramal Group began with 2,000 employees in 2000 and now has over 15,000 employees, with over 40 nationalities represented. Mr. Piramal has overseen tremendous expansion with revenue growing by 34% in 2017 and net profit increasing by 38% the same year. In 2016, the company’s turnover was approximately $1.3 billion, and Mr. Piramal has set a vision to achieve a market capitalization of $20 billion USD by 2020. To help achieve this goal, Mr. Piramal has implemented innovative talent management and employee development initiatives, including ASCEND, a program to curate a pool of high performing managers, and SUMMIT, a one-year intensive leadership development program. In addition to financial growth, Mr. Piramal strongly considers his company’s philanthropic work part of its success, and his Piramal Foundation has initiatives covering healthcare, water, education, and women empowerment in 21 states of India.

Mr Alex Hungate


Mr Alex Hungate

President & CEO, SATS Ltd, Singapore

The Asia Disruptor of the Year Award 2017 recognizes Alex Hungate for his innovation and use of technology to cut costs, drive growth, and increase employee productivity, making SATS Ltd. a pioneer in Gateway Services and Food Solutions. Beginning in 2014, Mr. Hungate embraced technology to automate various operations, including the company’s central kitchens in Singapore. By using robotics, SATS reduced the labor required by 80%. In 2015, SATS automated its entire cutlery cleaning and sorting process, which lead to a 36% increase in productivity. That same year, the company led the airfreight industry to adopt eAcceptance for processing of cargo export clearances. This was a major disruption which required the buy-in of over 300 freight carriers. Mr. Hungate also integrated technology into the workforce, making SATS the first ground handler in the world to incorporate smart watches and bone-conducting headsets for communications. SATA retrains staff and provides opportunities to upskill as new technologies emerge. This strategy has led to an increase in productivity of 4.1%, driving profits up 7.1%. Mr. Hungate is also using technology to assist airport customers by creating the app, Ready to Travel, which provides passenger-specific information at different points throughout their journey. Finally, the company is moving forward with ways to automate eCommerce traffic to accommodate the rapidly-growing traffic in the region.

Rizalina G. Mantaring


Ms Rizalina Mantaring

Country Head & CEO, Sun Life Financial Group, Philippines

Rizalina G. Mantaring is honoured with the Asia Talent Management Award 2017 for her leadership and dedication to hiring, training, and mentoring the more than 1,000 employees of Sun Life Financial. As CEO and Country Head, Ms. Mantaring believes that the Sun Life talent has been a critical factor that empowers her to face the challenges of the company. Sun Life encourages a “3E Development Approach”: Experiential, Exposure, and Education. The company offers leadership development programs, including a program with Duke University. Ms. Mantaring has also encouraged her staff to participate in industry associations through speaking engagements, or involvement in policy implementation. This exposure allows her senior staff to establish industry credibility, and further gives the company a voice in shaping policy and keeps the team up to date on current trends. Ms. Mantaring is actively involved in mentoring high-potential employees, even at the agency level and the company creates special projects to train high-potential employees in different aspects of the company. Thanks to her efforts in training and development, 65% of executives have come from within Sun Life, rising through the ranks. Another significant achievement the company’s Global Engagement Index of 90%, a testament to Ms. Mantaring’s commitment of keeping employees highly-engaged.

Dr Tan See Leng


Dr Tan See Leng

Managing Director & CEO, IHH Healthcare Berhad, Singapore

The Corporate Social Responsibility Award 2017 honours Dr. Tan See Leng, Managing Director, CEO, and Non-independent Executive Director of IHH Healthcare Berhad. Under Dr. Leng’s leadership, the company has supported charitable initiatives in three key areas: access to healthcare, healthcare awareness, and healthcare education. The Khazanah IHH Healthcare Fund is the company’s flagship community development platform, which aims to identify and provide partial and fully-sponsored medical treatment to underprivileged patients. Since 2002, IHH has been providing free health screenings in remote areas and in 2016 there were over 54 screening events which provided services to over 5,000 patients. Under a new initiative, the healthcare fund is identifying children with neuromuscular conditions and providing them with made-to-measure mobility aid solutions. The company has additionally supported awareness and understanding of breast cancer as well as organ donation. In Turkey, the company reached more than 20,000 people with a campaign on healthy lifestyle practices. With regard to education, the company endowed a gift of RM6 million to provide scholarships for at least 16 medical students at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Since the scholarship’s inception, 59 students have benefitted from the scholarship, which provides approximately RM30,000 of funding to the each recipient.

Mr George Zhu Zhaojiang


Mr George Zhu Zhaojiang

CEO, Shenzhen Transsion Holdings Ltd, China

The Country Business Leader of the Year Award 2017 recognizes Zhaojiang (George) Zhu, founder and CEO of Shenzhen Transsion Holdings Limited. Under Mr. Zhu’s leadership, the company has grown to become a leading player in the mobile industry, with a market share of 40% in Sub-Saharan African countries. The company has a global sales network in 58 countries and revenue has grown from USD 316.33 million in 2014 to 1.769 billion dollars in 2016. Mr. Zhu believes in a long-term strategy and says he will never pursue immediate benefits at the sacrifice of future business. This business strategy has proven successful in emerging African markets where his three mobile brands are in the Top 100 Most Admired Brands for African Consumers. Mr. Zhu also credits the company’s success to his commitment to core values and a moral code of conduct. He pledged to obtain positive word-of-mouth for every product sold. If any product garnered negative feedback, no matter how profitable, the product would be abandoned. As a leader, Mr. Zhu likes to play the role of moderator, guiding his team to a conclusion. He encourages open discussions and independent thinking to allow others to feel they have contributed. Mr. Zhu’s vision and strategy have been proven successful again, as the company recently entered India, the world’s fastest growing mobile market.

Mr Guo Guangchang


Mr Guo Guangchang

Chairman, Fosun International, China

From humble beginnings, Guo Guangchang defied the odds and grew a small business he co-founded in 1992 into one of China's largest private companies, Fosun International.

Under Guo's leadership, Fosun International evolved deftly with the times. From property and pharmaceutical, it diversified to steel and mining, and later insurance, tourism and healthcare, to create a nimble global investment group with assets exceeding US$70 billion. Guo's bold vision captured the world's attention by buying into well-known brands like Club Med, Cirque du Soleil and Silver Cross, expanding Chinese presence and influence across the globe.

His determination and grit to adapt and overcome challenges promote entrepreneurship in China, contributing to a private sector that has been a powerful engine in the country's rapid economic expansion.

CNBC is delighted to award the 2017 ABLA Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr Guo Guangchang, Chairman of Fosun International.

"I was deeply honored to be the Asian Innovator of the Year at 2007 ABLA, and during the past ten years, Neusoft has further accelerated its brand building and business expansion in the international markets. I believe there will be more and more entrepreneurs from Asia with innovative spirit and social responsibility who will further contribute to the future prosperity of the regional and global economy."

Dr Liu Jiren, Chairman & CEO, Neusoft Corporation

2017 Judges

Professor Philip G Berger

Professor Philip G Berger

Wallman Family Professor of Accounting and Deputy Dean of the Part-Time MBA Program, Chicago Booth

Philip G Berger previously served on the faculty of The Wharton School. His research interests are mainly in the areas of financial reporting and corporate finance. Berger's research has been published widely in accounting and finance journals and he has been a co-editor of the Journal of Accounting Research since 2004.

Dr Liu Jiren

Dr Liu Jiren

Chairman & CEO, Neusoft Corporation

Dr Liu Jiren is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Neusoft Corporation, also a professor of the Northeastern University (NEU) China, and vice-chairman at China Software Industry Association (CSIA). He was a member of APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and of Global Agenda Council at the World Economic Forum.

Wang Shuo

Wang Shuo

Managing Editor, Caixin Media

As co-founder and managing editor of Caixin Media, China’s leading business and finance media group, Wang Shuo focuses on providing high-quality news reports through leading an independent and professional standard in China.

Under his leadership, the Caixin editorial team won the Shorenstein Journalism Award from Stanford University. Wang Shuo was honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2012. He was also twice named a Young Leader at the 2007 and 2008 Boao Forum for Asia, and a Leader of the Next Generation by the Tallberg Forum in Sweden. He was named Yale World Fellow in 2016 by Yale University.

Vibha Gaba

Vibha Gaba

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, INSEAD

Vibha Gaba's research examines how organizations learn and how it impacts their ability to innovate and adapt. She is the Academic Program Director for executive education programs focusing on strategic change and leadership and has received the INSEAD Executive Education Award for Outstanding Teaching multiple times.

Dr Richard S Wellins

Dr Richard S Wellins

Senior Vice President, Development Dimensions International

Richard S Wellins is responsible for launching DDI's new products and services, leading DDI's Center for Analytics and Behavioral Research (CABER) and its major research projects and developing, and executing DDI's global marketing strategy. Wellins spearheads DDI's global bi-annual research on best practices in leadership development and talent acquisition.

John Casey

John Casey

Senior Vice President, International News & Programming, CNBC

John Casey is CNBC's Senior Vice President of International News and Programming. He oversees all of CNBC's programming in the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions. His responsibilities include supervising content development, talent and programme schedules across CNBC's broadcast, mobile and digital platforms. Casey splits his time between London and Singapore.

"CNBC's Asia Business Leaders Awards, in its 16th year, recognizes those CEOs who stand above the rest. the rigorous evaluation process chooses those leaders who have demonstrated their ability to set a clear course in uncertain times, constantly innovate their products, services, and business models, and develop exceptional talent."

Dr Richard S Wellins, Senior Vice President, Development Dimensions International

2017 ABLA Shortlisted Nominees

Shortlisted Nominees

Click here to view the full list of 2017 ABLA shorlisted nominees.

Press Releases

CNBC Names Region’s Top Executives at 16th Asia Business Leaders Awards


CNBC, the world's leading business and financial news network, today announced the distinguished winners of the 16th Asia Business Leaders Awards (ABLA) at a gala ceremony held at the Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre.

Lang Lang joins Asia’s business elite at CNBC’s 16th Annual ABLA Awards in Shanghai


Lang Lang joins Asia’s business elite at CNBC’s 16th Annual ABLA Awards in Shanghai

CNBC, the world's leading business and financial news network, will host its annual Asia Business Leaders Awards gala tomorrow evening in Shanghai.

Amongst the 300 strong C-suite audience at the star-studded event will be the winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Guo Guangchang (郭广昌), Chairman of Fosun International.

Earlier today, CNBC also announced concert pianist, Lang Lang will announce the winner of the 2017 CNBC Asia Business Leaders Award for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Lang Lang will also introduce an 11-year-old piano prodigy, Siyu Wu, who has benefitted from the Lang Lang International Music Foundation.

The 16th Asia Business Leaders Awards will be broadcast on CNBC on Thursday, 23 November, 7:00pm (SG/HK time).

CNBC gives Lifetime Achievement Award to Fosun International’s Guo Guangchang


CNBC, the world's leading business and financial news network, today announced Guo Guangchang (郭广昌), Chairman of Fosun International as the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at the upcoming 16th Asia Business Leaders Awards.

CNBC Announces 16th Asia Business Leaders Awards


CNBC, the world’s leading business and financial news network, today announced that the 16th Asia Business Leaders Awards will be heading back to China after 14 years, with this year’s awards set to take place in Shanghai on 2 November.

Nominations for five of the six award categories are also now open. Categories now accepting nominations are: Asia Business Leader of the Year; Asia Disruptor of the Year; Asia Talent Management; Corporate Social Responsibility and China Business Leader of the Year. Nominations can be submitted at abla.cnbc.com. The Lifetime Achievement Award category is not open for nominations, but is decided by the ABLA panel of judges.