Up close and personal with a regional head of HR

British American Tobacco's Asia-Pacific Head of HR Ji Yoon Chung gets candid.

In this edition of Up Close and Personal, we speak with Ji Yoon Chung, Head of HR, Operations, Asia-Pacific, British American Tobacco.

Who is Ji Yoon Chung, and how would you describe yourself? 

I think I am a down-to-earth and fun-loving individual who at times also can be audacious! Also a trusted friend and partner to family and friends. In the workplace, I am effective, commercially savvy and, a ‘professional’ professional, who constantly seeks for learning and inspiration.

Complete this sentence. HR is…

Where problems are solved and challenges of the people, are overcome by the people and for the people.

What’s the best part of your job?

Seeing the team grow and develop.

What’s the worst part?


What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There are so many highlights from all the jobs that I worked and yet the highlight that gives me the biggest joy is to see people that I recruited and developed growing, and that they are building their own legacy! Many of them are doing just great.

Was HR always on the cards for you? Or did you fall into it by accident?

I fell into it by accident - it was serendipity and I loved it.

What would you be doing if you were not in HR?

Teaching. I genuinely believe helping others learn is important and I happened to major in education in the university.

What are you most passionate about?

‘Learning’ as a topic that helps people build self confidence and navigate their lives better. This passion extends from the public education system for kids to adult learning.

How do you unwind after work?

Having a conversation with my husband over a dinner and running, walking, or cross-training in the gym

If there’s one person you could trade places with for a day, who would it be?

Elon Musk – I would like to understand how he juggles all that!

Guilty pleasures?

Binge-watching the Korean entertainment show called Infinite Challenge.

If you were stranded on an island and could only keep three items, what would they be?

Swimsuit, smartphone, and a bottle of very good red wine. 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

The definition of “stupidity” - doing the same thing and expecting something different to happen. This advice allows me to step back and put things into perspective whenever needed!  

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