Shanghai to play host to CNBC's third Asia Business Leader Awards (ABLA) 2004

MUMBAI: So who will wear the crown this year. To find out more... tune into the 3rd Asia Business Leader Awards (ABLA) 2004. Of course we aren't talking about some beauty pageant, but CNBC Asia Pacific, TNT Asia and China Business Networks hunt for Business Leaders of the World's Fastest Growing Economic Region.

The two-day event is scheduled for 25-26 May 2004.

In its third year, Asia's Premier Business Awards to will include the main Awards event and dinner, a CEO Summit which will have some of the foremost citizens of the corporate world discuss the issues which have a significant impact on the growth of the world economy.

The business news and information channel CNBC Asia Pacific, business logistics solutions company Recognise TNT Asia and China's business news channel China Business Network announced the third edition of the awards yesterday.

Besides the awards and the dinner, there will also be a CEO golf challenge held, says a company release.

Launched in 2001, the awards is organised and presented by CNBC and TNT, co-hosted by China Business Network (CBN) and in association with Hewlett-Packard and Malaysia Airlines.

According to the release, the awards is the only premier regional Awards of its kind and is a tribute to Asia's outstanding CEOs who have demonstrated superior leadership skills in managing highly successful businesses not only in their respective countries, but across the region as well.

The theme for this year awards is "Defining Success through Leadership". ABLA 2004 will recognise the individuals for their ability to lead and succeed in today's ever-changing business landscape and lay the foundations for their organisations in the years to come, says the release.

The awards categories include The Asia Business Leader of the Year, Innovator of the Year, Corporate Citizen of the Year, and a new ABLA award category - China CEO of the Year. In addition, there will be a CEOs' Choice Award decided via polling top executives throughout the region.

This year, the judging process will be led by a team of two academics from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business - professor of accounting Mark E Zmijewski, dean of executive MBA programmes Leon Carroll Marshall and associate dean for part time MBA Programmes William W Kooser.

The judging process has been divided into three phases. In phase one, the team of academics has compiled quantitative company data to bring out the top performers from across the Asian landscape and short-listed over 50 candidates for the next phase.

ABLA 2004 sees the introduction of an interview process in phase two to assess candidates' leadership qualities based on a set of criteria. Following the interviews, 20 candidates will be short-listed for the final round of judging. In this final phase, a distinguished independent panel of judges will come together to further shortlist 10 finalists, out of which four winners will be ultimately chosen for the Awards, adds the release.

Past winners include Tata Consultancy Services CEO S Ramadorai, who won the Asia Business Leader of the Year in 2002, Samsung Electronics Co vice chairman and CEO Jong-Yong Yun, winner of CEOs' Choice of the Year 2002, ICICI Limited CEO and MD KV Kamath, who won the Asia Business Leader of the Year 2001 and Mazda Motor Corporation president Mark Fields, winner of the Innovator of the Year 2001.

According to CNBC Asia Pacific president and CEO Alexander Brown,"CNBC's reputation has been built on providing in-depth and up-to-the-minute business analysis and information that help industry leaders in the region make critical business decisions everyday. The Asia Business Leader Awards was founded by CNBC to acknowledge those individuals who have been able to successfully navigate their companies through an extremely diverse and challenging business environment in the region."

"Since its inception in 2001, the Asia Business Leader Awards has grown rapidly in terms of entries, scale and recognition as the region's premier business leadership awards, and given China's rapidly growing importance on

the world economic stage, we are particularly pleased to be bringing the Awards to Shanghai in 2004," Brown added.

"Being a Global Fortune 500 corporation with a long established history in Asia, TNT understands the challenges that a rapidly changing world brings to business leaders in Asia. China's rapid rise as an economic force brings about the urgent need for business leaders in this region, and within China, to tap into growth opportunities presented in this exciting period some call the 'Asian Century'. As the co-founder of the Asia Business Leader Awards with CNBC, TNT is confident that Asia will showcase even more heroes who have proven their resilience and courage in this changing business world,"

said TNT Asia, Middle East and Africa CEO Ken McCall.

According to Shanghai Media Group (SMG) president and China Business Network (CBN) board chairman Li Ruigang, "As Asia grows in importance in the global economic arena, there has never been a better time to recognise, reward and promote outstanding corporate leadership and organisational excellence. We believe that ABLA is perfectly in tune with CBN's strategy of bringing invaluable business insight to the country's growing numbers of influential entrepreneurs, professionals, families and senior corporate executives."

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