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Jakarta Post

Douglas Cassidy: Spurred by the spirit of the country to help companies expand

  • Gandi Faisal

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Mon, February 15, 2016   /  09:00 am
Douglas Cassidy: Spurred by the spirit of the country to help companies expand

Photos: JP/Arief Suhardiman

Believing in people'€™s spirit to grow, Douglas Cassidy encourages discussion and a strong sense of purpose in an organization.

Previously stationed in London, Douglas Cassidy was impressed with what he saw when he came to Jakarta. '€œThere is dynamism here that is quite striking, so I was instantly interested,'€ Cassidy said. And it is the dynamism and energy of the city and its people that present ample opportunity for the consulting industry to grow.

The need for consulting

Cassidy has close to 20 years of experience in an industry that requires accuracy in information, and indeed he said that a business could not succeed if it didn'€™t understand the market and its customers.

'€œEvery company needs consulting services to help them in their expansion strategy, for example, so there is a big opportunity to expand,'€ he said, stating that Indonesia was seen as a sleeping giant because the opportunities are so great for businesses to expand in the country.

Cassidy was recently appointed as country head of business consulting at Ipsos Business Consulting; and this appointment is seen as a strategic move taken by the company at the start of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

With the launch of AEC, Ipsos sees an increase of foreign direct investment in Indonesia, which is expected to drive demand for research and business strategy consulting. Cassidy said that with the consulting group'€™s global presence, the company could reach across an entire global network to deliver to its clients. '€œMy primary goal will be to play my part in making the Indonesia office the primary growth engine of Ipsos Business Consulting.'€

He noted that clients always have specific targets in mind when they go to a consulting firm, and he stressed the importance of constant communication with the clients. '€œThere should be a checkpoint to make sure we are on course. The clients also use the update in their decision-making, and if necessary, they can ask about something more in depth.'€

Cassidy believes that enterprises, big or small, need to be able to navigate the threats to their respective industry. Many industries experienced pressure throughout 2015, but the year also saw the continued rise of the middle class.

'€œThe rise of the middle class has created unprecedented market opportunities in many areas, not just in the products and services, but also in the entire supply chain. At the same time, growth can lead to consolidation, as small players become unable to compete or fail to create a viable niche. And this is where consulting services can be the key determinant, as companies that invest in understanding their market are more likely to succeed,'€ he explained.

The need for encouraging discussion

Cassidy is of the opinion that staff need to have their freedom and the environment to help them build their career. That is why he is always interested in hearing different viewpoints and in encouraging discussion and debate.

'€œI think people like to be in a discussion and debate, because you get to think about things and not just collect data and processing them. You then get the chance to explore business issues and business decisions as if you were the business leader yourself,'€ he noted.

He thinks that strongly directive management styles are generally not required in an organization filled with talented, highly educated and highly motivated people. '€œThere are, of course, times when quick decisions are necessary or priorities need to be chosen. And on such occasions people like to know they have strong leadership. It can be demotivating if people think that a decision won'€™t be made.'€

He said a good leader should be able to consult, take advice, set the direction and decide. '€œI take advice from people whose opinion I respect and value, and it depends on the situation and the condition.'€

Emilio Botin is a person he regards as a fine example of what a modern business leader should be. '€œRight from the start in the 1980'€™s, he was concerned with the long-term success of his business; he was not interested in short-term speculation. He was not interested in looking good next month if it is at the expense of looking good five years from now. And the wisdom of this is when the big crisis came along, his banking group, Santander Group, was almost untouched by the crisis,'€ Cassidy said.

 Another person Cassidy said he admired is Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, who understood the importance of long-term planning and investment to ensure the peaceful development of a nation for the benefit of all citizens.

His leadership and management success, he said, was due to his willingness to believe in the people working in the company and to harness the power of the collective. '€œAlso, knowing when to delegate, when to discuss and when to decide is another key,'€ he concluded.

Year of Birth


Career Highlights

* Head of Business Consulting Indonesia (Nov. 2015 '€“ present)
* International investment product manager at Friends Provident International, UK (July 2013 '€“ Nov. 2015)
* International investment manager at Standard Life, UK (Sept. 2011 '€“ Sept. 2012)
* Product development manager of Santander Asset Management, UK (Oct. 2002 '€“ Sept. 2011)


* Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in music from Leeds University, UK ( 1998 )
* Diploma in mathematics from Open University, UK ( 2012 )
* Master of Science in applied economics from the University of Strathclyde ( 2013 ).

At Ease


I have recently taken up golf. So, as my family members haven'€™t joined me in the country, I have been coming to the driving range in J-town to practice my shots. I did some golfing in Glasgow, but I haven'€™t had the chance to try a golf course here.


I enjoy traveling, something that I usually do with friends or family. I'€™ve visited Russia, and I like that country. I have also been to some countries in Eastern Europe. I'€™d like to try the Trans-Siberian route and, of course, visit Asian countries, outside of work.


My spare time also includes reading as my frequent habit. I like reading, especially books on factual materials, such as history and international politics.


My other interest is learning languages. One language I'€™ve been studying for years is Russian, and some Spanish and Cantonese in college. And now I am learning Indonesian with a tutor.