Staff Reporters
Jan 5, 2023

40 Under 40 2022: Harold Li, ExpressVPN

Going out of their way to build a better ExpressVPN, Li constantly challenges the status quo by encouraging bosses and juniors to think big-picture.

40 Under 40 2022: Harold Li, ExpressVPN
SEE ALL OF THE 2022 40 UNDER 40
Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise 

Harold Li

Chief brand and communications officer
ExpressVPN
Singapore

2022 has been a transformative year for ExpressVPN, and Harold Li has been central in guiding the company through it. In December 2021, ExpressVPN joined the London Stock Exchange-listed Kape Technologies as part of a $936 million deal. This unicorn-level deal was made possible in no small part due to the strong brand awareness and reputation that Li and their team carefully and strategically built over the years, with virtually no above-the-line spend.

More importantly, through the difficult transition period of bringing ExpressVPN and other Kape brands together, Li has been pivotal in guiding the component organisations through internal communications and change management. Since ExpressVPN joined Kape, their remit has expanded to cover CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, and ZenMate brands as well, which collectively represents $253.5 million in revenue as per Kape’s H1 2022 results. Li oversees over 75 full-time employees and is one of five C-suite members leading the company. Prior to ExpressVPN, they were the first comms hire in Uber North Asia, guiding the frequently embattled brand through its nascent years in the region.

In the industry, we talk of hunters vs farmers but Li stands out as a rare breed: a builder. They build teams and leaders, capacity and capability, and trust and credibility. Passionate about everything tech means that Li injects digital into every aspect of strategy and has the team work with SEO, inbound marketers, content marketers, and paid acquisition regularly. Rather than communications fighting for space and influence, this is pulled in by product, engineering, support, and other marketing functions at ExpressVPN. 

Li is extremely hands-on in training and skills development, a lot of which famously happens at the pantry where they spend most of the day, always eager to engage. More formally, they believe in technical and product understanding being foundational to effective communication and invests heavily in growing the team’s knowledge on this front—whether through developing and recording a multi-part onboarding module on digital privacy and security, or through individual coaching. They have also created a podcast dedicated to teaching how to be better at it: You’ll Manage

On the diversity and inclusion front, Li is not only a champion of the cause but a leader by example. Prominently and proudly queer, they are the executive sponsor for the company’s first ERG, the Women’s ERG. Previously, they were also one of the leaders of Amnesty International HK’s LGBTI+ volunteer group.

SEE ALL OF THE 2022 40 UNDER 40
Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise 

 

Source:
Campaign Asia

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