Rose (pictured) takes up his new position today after serving as the Shanghai-based country manager for China. His new regional duties move him to Hong Kong, reporting to Richard Myerscough, general manager, international, who sits in London.
In an exclusive interview yesterday with Campaign Asia-Pacific at the company’s new Hong Kong office in Causeway Bay, Rose, who seldom accepts media interviews, joked that he was giving his “virgin” interview opportunity to Campaign.
Asked about relocating from Shanghai to Hong Kong when many companies are making the reverse choice, Rose said Hong Kong makes sense for the new regional manager role.
“We used to have four country managers in Asia-Pacific, namely Japan, Australia, China and Hong Kong," he said. "Now we are changing that structure. There are two parts of my work. One is creating a Greater China office; I still look after Shanghai, and now Hong Kong office. But Japan and Australia are also reporting to me, with 60 to 70 per cent of my work relating to sales and marketing. And very importantly, being the ambassador for the brand.”
Rose elaborated that the company used to have a regional manager 10 years ago, before it went with separate, independent offices. “Ten years ago the markets needed more independent focus within each country," he said. "But markets are changing. There is more interdependence and synergy, especially on the marketing side. There is lots more cross-border or borderless marketing that needs to be done, especially within social media and digital.”
The structure the airline is putting in place reflects that shift and ensures all the separate territories, cities or offices become more aligned. Each can learn from the other markets, sharing best practices and eliminating duplicate efforts.
Rose emphasised that his relocation did not mean that Shanghai has lost its focus, “We are still very focused in Shanghai, but we are equally focused on Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. The move is just for administrative reasons. It is easier to run the region from Hong Kong. It is centrally placed, has good transport links and a great airport, all the good things to find as a regional HQ.”
“I would like to say Hong Kong is a nice and easy place to live, especially as a British expatriate,” he praised.
Myerscough commented on Rose’s promotion, “We created this new position to maximize the strengths of the Asia-Pacific region and work more efficiently by bringing the markets together. I am delighted to welcome David to this new role as head of Asia-Pacific as he’ll bring a vast array of commercial and leadership experience which will help shape this strategically important region for us.”
Rose studied aeronautical engineering at Bristol University in the UK. He served in the British Army and worked in charity and in business consulting before joining Virgin six years ago as a commercial strategic analyst in London. He went on to become a route revenue manager in the United States, then Virgin Atlantic’s country manager for Kenya, based in Nairobi.