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7 Questions with Gao Erji
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7 Questions with Gao Erji
Name: GAO ERJI
Current title: Executive President
Current organisation: Caixin Insight Group
I joined Caixin Group in 2014, and founded the data and insight business arm ever since 2015, from zero, to a comprehensive pioneering data provider. During when we completed a series of landmark acquisitions to fulfill our goal.
Before that, I was a banker, serving in CITIC Securities, and HSBC, for ten years. I covered cross border M&A, providing advice to our clients, C-suites, for an out-of-box growth.
I am also a writer. I wrote a novel, telling my story in banking, and also published a poem book.
I am happy to help others, so I initiated a scholarship program in my mother school, and sponsored the program for 10 years till now.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Culture construction is always the most challenging job for a CEO. Culture is as soft as air, but to embrace all the framework and institution for the talented people to do the right thing. As a CEO, you don't have enough time to do everything, even to set up every single part of the framework, so you have to build up the core value in your core team, and let them realize the culture, the framework and the team, as you wish.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I joined the best business media in China, Caixin Group in 2014, while my boss had a dream to build up a data business arm. This was also my dream when I was a banker.
After I joined the group, I lined up some strategic investors and set up a fund, used the fund to make a series of acquisitions, and combined such data businesses as a group, called Caixin Insight Group.
Nowadays Caixin Insight Group has become the most international, pioneer data provider in China, with sharp characters, like technology driven, close to client work scope, etc.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
No days are the same, so such a structuring job should mean how much energy you will split in different roles.
I usually spend the morning and evening with my family.
During my working time, I used 10% to spend with my core team, hanging out, for fun and for consensus, eg. lunch time.
Another 40%, for discussion, and thinking for our product, which means creativity, the parts I like most.
Another 40%, give my colleagues to arrange, like meeting with clients, investors, business partners, etc, which means communications, the parts they need me the most.
Another 10%, leave myself alone, maybe for fun, sometimes, or pop up in reading.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
We have done a successful restructuring, and during the whole process, we need to have thorough discussion with more than 30 shareholders. It is NOT EASY.
Convincing capacity with true integrity, means leadership.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Tycoon Banker, though only in Chinese, but I strongly suggest you read, if you want to know what happened from 2007 to 2016 in China, especially in the financial industry.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Culture, set up the best corporate culture for the talented people.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
We acquired the largest macroeconomic database in the world in 2018, with a 90% leveraging ratio, and made a 3.0x return in 2 years.
We have learned a lot. How to make a reasonable dream and make it happen, how to work with people with a totally different mindset, how to achieve your goal while your partner can achieve a different goal but you two still win-win.