Name: Stephen Park
Job: Head of Global Mobility
Company: Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited
Institute of Contemporary Arts, Financial Accountant: 1998-1999
KPMG, Tax Consultant (International Executive Services): 2000-2001
EY, Senior Tax Manager (Human Capital): 2002-2010
Cisco Systems, Inc., Global Relocations, Immigration & Expatriate Tax Manager: 2011-2012
Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, Head of Global Mobility: 2015-Present
A: My career started with a graduate rotation program in Sydney, Australia. I was lucky to have experienced four tax ‘specialisms’ within the Big 4 and decided expatriate tax was the right fit for me. It ended up being my fast ticket to my own international assignment experiences relocating from Sydney to London and then Singapore. In Singapore, I joined Cisco Systems for my first regional in-house Global Mobility role. Currently, I am with Fonterra, the leading exporter of dairy nutrition, operating from Singapore with a global remit, yet part of our NZ Headquarters team.
A: Yes, cultural awareness and being open that different people work in different ways. I appreciate working with a diverse audience whether it be my Global Mobility colleagues in NZ, HR in Amsterdam, Payroll in Venezuela or Business leaders in Shanghai.
A: Knowing Fonterra has the goal of touching 2 Billion people by 2025 as the trusted and leading exporter of dairy nutrition, contributing towards the GDP of a country like NZ and making a difference to our customers, especially children. Also, our expatriate employees perform outstanding work with their social responsibility platforms for the local dairy industries in Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
A: Dynamic, internationally relevant and collaborative. It’s an outstanding work environment, and each day Fonterra impresses me.
A: Outsourcing the assignment management function to enable the team to focus on policy, strategy and business acumen. We are on the journey to evolve our Global Mobility platform to best serve Fonterra. Next is to make Global Mobility common practice within Fonterra and improve the framework for developing our talent to support Fonterra’s People strategy more effectively.
A: The business environment has become globally focused with supply chains crossing borders, increase in international trade and people movements becoming more complex. Also, technology seems to be making the world smaller. Managing the workforce for most large organisations is now a global experience, and Global Mobility is one solution to match talent opportunities to business opportunities. A recent change I am noticing is that countries are becoming more protectionist with their immigration, labour and tax laws. There is now less room for errors, and small mishaps can escalate into serious commercial issues.
A: Governance and duty of care to employees. For most Global Mobility issues, incurring more cost to the business is manageable. However, a breach of governance for the company or having an irreparable situation with an employee and their family, i.e. health and safety is what I look out for and wish to prevent.
A: Having subject matter experts providing local, regional and global guidance is critical. The tax environment is challenging and having a strong partner who understands your organisation and knows you well enough to provide you with the one stop shop service is your best partner.
A: Governance and duty of care to the employee. These are the two areas I trust are not negotiable for any Global Mobility practitioner, so when there is pressure for cost containment on these matters, it is best described ‘I get defensive’.
A: Something that is secure and reliable provides an audit trail, facilitates an intuitive work-flow process and is relatively low-cost. Ideally, this should provide a consistent interface for the relocating employee, your vendor partners, internal stakeholders and the Global Mobility team, so you have visibility on the whole population and can report in many ways for a status report, return on investment, talent plans and data analytics.
A: Predictive services, to anticipate and guide the employee and/or company for what needs to be performed and make decisions timely to ensure the relocation process is managed and all parties are two steps ahead of the curve. Relocating can be a complex process which differs for each individual based on personal circumstances, home and host locations, company policies and culture and economic/socio-political/environmental factors, plus a lot more. Predictive services could anticipate challenges in advance, create the relocation framework and guide the transition during a period of great change for the employee, i.e. be two steps ahead.
A: Global Mobility is becoming a competitive advantage in a way that organisations which can create a strong culture of having the right people in the right place at the right time, may be best positioned to deliver results for their stakeholders and customers. Being able to perform this efficiently with consistent higher returns on investment whilst developing and retaining their key talent would be sweet-spot.
A: My suggestion is that Global Mobility requires a broad skill set and a keen eye for detail, where picking up small nuances can make or break a successful relocation experience. Global Mobility practitioners tend to be jack of all trades, masters of none. Often you are representing the company to ensure governance yet you may need to be sensitive to the personal requirements of the relocating employee and their family, you are often balancing the interests of both parties to make things happen. For someone looking to start a career in Global Mobility, having a global mind-set is the best place to start, being open to picking up diverse experiences and being culturally sensitive and applying this to each situation.