Google has made yet another senior hire from the Singapore finance sector as it continues to target talent from big banks.
Guillaume Van de Vyver, a director in group strategy at Standard Chartered, started at Google Singapore last month in an APAC cloud strategy and operations role, according to his public profile. He was at Stan Chart for just seven month and previously spent about seven years in consultancy at McKinsey & Company in Paris, latterly as a senior manager, partly focused on financial services.
Van de Vyver joins a growing number of local banking professionals who’ve quit for Google in recent months, casting doubt on banks’ ability to compete with the tech giant as it boosts its hiring in Singapore. Google’s cloud team appears particularly open to banking talent. In November, Carl Bachman Kharazmi, the APAC head of cloud engineering at DBS, departed for Google.
Google in Singapore is targeting two broad groups of bank employees: developers with programming backgrounds (e.g. Kharazmi) and digital strategists like Van de Vyver, whose focus is business development. In the later camp, Aman Narain, Schroders’ APAC boss of digital and fintech, joined Google as APAC head of e-commerce, retail and travel partnerships earlier this year.
The brain drain to Google and other large tech companies is a growing concern for global banks in Asia, according to senior in-house recruiters who attended an eFinancialCareers roundtable last month. “Google, for example, is renowned for things like free food and office slides,” said a roundtable delegate from a US bank. “Banks are more restrictive in our office culture, and that’s hard to change.”
Van de Vyver has joined Google’s campus-style APAC headquarters in Singapore, which opened in November 2016. It now employs more than 1,000 people and features hipster cafes, massage rooms and Lego-playing desks.
Banks’ concerns about Google reflect the findings of a recent eFinancialCareers survey, in which the tech company beat all the leading financial firms to rank as the top employer that finance professionals in Asia would ideally like to work for.
Worryingly for banks, Google’s number-one ranking isn’t just based on its reputation for offering funky offices and a dynamic company culture. Google is starting to encroach into areas where banks once held the upper hand. Asian voters in our survey gave it higher marks than any bank for its perceived ‘financial performance’ and ‘strong executive leadership’.
Van de Vyver has moved rapidly up the ranks. The ESSEC graduate reached director level at Stan Chart in 2017, having only started his career in 2011.
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