Dato’ Loy Teik Ngan - From Billionaire's Son to Losing it All and Starting Over [The Business of Family]


23 November 2020

46 mins 16 secs

Season 1

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About this Episode

Dato’ Loy Teik Ngan, the eldest son of a well-known entrepreneur who built one of the largest business conglomerates in Malaysia, Teik Ngan took over the rein of his family company upon his father’s demise. Within a year, the sprawling business empire that took 35 years to build, collapsed under the weight of huge debts amidst the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

14 years passed before all personal liabilities of his family from the days of the financial crisis were eventually settled. In the process, he built a new family business, in education. The Taylor’s Education Group is today the largest private education group in Malaysia. Focused on premium education, Taylor’s K-12 schools & higher education institutions are widely recognised as the top education institutions in their respective categories. Taylor’s institutions operate in Malaysia, Singapore & Vietnam.

The struggles during the tough financial period of his life shaped Teik Ngan’s stewardship views for family business. Appreciating unity, his family has introduced concepts and activities that promote collaborative conversations & strengthen relationships. He is dedicated to the development & transition of his family’s next generation of 13.

Teik Ngan’s family are active members of the Family Business Network Asia & he is the current President of the Board.

Standout Quotes:

  • "We had to learn how to live together; we had to form a Living Together Committee"
  • "One thing that normally goes wrong when families end up in dispute is lack of proper communication"
  • "The family unit is important and sometimes we are subservient to the larger family"
  • "We try to always emphasize that the family comes before the business, the business allows us the blessing to be able to have the lifestyle that we have, but we have to work together as a family first"
  • "Do you want to be Rich or do you want to be King?"
  • "I would encourage my kids to understand the context in why they do what they do... What is it all for? Wealth is fleeting; wealth is something that we cannot take with us when we die"

Key Takeaways:

  • Dato’ informed the bank he was indebted to, that they could either push him into bankruptcy or loan him more money to rebuild and pay back the company debts.
  • A living together committee had to be formed to help the large family live in one compound.
  • Knowing that lack of communication was a common cause of family disputes prompted the introduction of Forums to build positive communication.
  • Dato’ shares that the most important thing that has been done as leader of the family business in recent times is Annual Vacations.
  • The difference between "Family Business" and "Business family" is that in 'Family Business', the family comes before the business.
  • Guided by the shared family values, one of which is "Achievement and Learning", Dato’ explains how the next generation is encouraged to follow their passion even when it may be outside the family business.
  • The concept of a "Personal Portfolio" in creating an education plan for the family
  • The difference between being rich and being a king is that a king has ultimate authority, loyal subjects and lots he has to look after but being rich is just going for performance, the best point is somewhere between both
  • Dato’ explains the concept of the "Deathwalk", an exercise involving walking into our death, looking back at our current age, and giving ourselves the advice we would.

Episode Timeline:

  • [00:49] Introducing Dato’ Loy and 'The Taylor's Education group'
  • [01:59] Dato’ narrates the events surrounding his transition into his father's company, which was is debt before the overwhelming challenges brought about by the Asian financial crisis
  • [07:02] Dato’ admits he was ill-prepared for the scale of complexity involved in the business, worsened by the lack of adequate resources to surmount the crisis at the time.
  • [08:43] From a collapsed family business to a thriving one
  • [13:45] Dato’ describes in detail the current size and scale of the family business
  • [14:50] How did these experiences shape your views towards stewardship of the family business?
  • [20:50] The living together committee
  • [23:28] Dato’ explains the different strategies employed to keep the family harmony
  • [29:25] Differentiating between "Family Business" and "Business family"
  • [33:35] Are you actively planning and anticipating succession with the next generation?
  • [35:16] The concept of a "Personal Portfolio" in creating an education plan for the family
  • [40:53] In the last 5 years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your family business?
  • [43:26] Dato's letter to his kids: 'the Deathwalk'

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