Women in Treasury

Women in Treasury: Michelle Ang, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation

Published: Mar 2024
Michelle Ang, Group Treasurer, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation

This much I know

Part of Daimler Truck AG, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) is headquartered in Kawasaki, Japan. The company, which has around 10,000 employees, manufactures trucks, buses and industrial engines for over 170 markets around the world. MFTBC also serves as a development centre for electric and autonomous drive technologies within the larger Daimler Truck Network.

Michelle Ang

Group Treasurer
Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation

Michelle Ang has close to 25 years’ experience working for the Daimler Group, and previously held leadership positions in Australia, China, Singapore and Germany before assuming her role as Group Treasurer, MFTBC in 2021, based out of Tokyo. In her current role, she is responsible for shaping the group’s banking, financial markets and investment strategy across Japan, China, India, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand.

In 2023, Michelle was the Highly Commended Winner of Treasury Today’s Woman of the Year APAC award.

How did you arrive in your current role?

I graduated with a degree in accounting and started off with what was then one of the big six accounting firms – but I was never really satisfied with just looking at financials historically and closing the books. I moved into other industries, like banking and securities, before I finally joined a management associate programme ran by the Daimler Group. It was a two-year programme which provided a holistic view on the industry, with exposure to different functions, and at the end you could decide which function you’d like to consider for your longer-term career.

What advice would you give women in terms of establishing a career in finance?

If you’ve just graduated and don’t know which industry you’d like to join, my recommendation is to go to an organisation whose purpose shouts out to you, rather than zooming in on a particular role. Beyond whatever your degree or your education might be, it’s about understanding where this company sees itself, and whether you identify with the values of that organisation.

Which factors are most important in helping women achieve their career goals?

It’s really about the hunger you have, in terms of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, as well as about flexibility – for example, if you had to relocate to gain a particular experience, would you do it? There’s no right or wrong, but these two aspects have been a constant in my career. I’ve also had some great mentors who have helped me achieve my goals, so I’ve been very fortunate.

What is your favourite motto or greatest inspiration?

At the start of my career, it was ‘never say never’, or ‘the best is yet to come’. But at this stage of my life and career, it’s really ‘lead with a position of love and kindness’.

Often in the boardroom, people have a mindset of ‘winner takes all’, but I believe any great leader has to come from a position of love – meaning you need to love what you do and love the people that you’re trying to nurture to be the next leaders. You also need to have a love for your society, otherwise all these ESG goals are just more KPIs that you need to report on. When you come from this position, profits automatically follow because you’re making decisions that have a long-term effect.

It really doesn’t matter what role you get within the organisation – in a larger organisation, you have the chance to move around relatively easily.

Finding the right fit

When it comes to creating a career plan, Michelle Ang believes a flexible approach is more important than focusing on specific roles. “I had a defined career plan, but none of it turned out the way I planned,” she laughs.

While people’s priorities are inevitably different at different life stages, Michelle says the most important career advice she can give to younger women is to find an organisation that aligns with their values. “I think it really doesn’t matter what role you get within the organisation – in a larger organisation, you have the chance to move around relatively easily, and depending on the footprint of the organisation you may be able to build an international career,” she reflects.

For Michelle, applying to a management associate programme at Daimler Group proved to be a defining moment in her career. Following a detailed assessment process for candidates around the world, she was awarded a place on the two-year programme. “I started my journey, and never looked back,” she says. “Asia was very much a growth region, so I had the benefit of working there as the team grew. The programme really benefited me, as I felt that I was part of a bigger purpose at the company, and that I understood it from day one.”

During Michelle’s time at Daimler she has worked in Australia, China, Germany and Singapore. Then, in 2021, following the successful spin-off of Daimler Truck from Daimler AG (now Mercedes-Benz AG) she took up her role in Japan and worked on various corporate finance transactions for the Group.

Becoming a role model

Turning to the topic of inclusion and diversity, Michelle notes that her experiences have been very different across the five countries in which she’s worked. “I think there are some places where it`s second nature to articulate your views, but there are also other locations where women need to feel safe that they can articulate their views,” she adds.

People are attracted to individuals whose values, behaviour or path in career and life reflect their aspirations.

In Japan, Michelle observes that young female employees seek out female role models within the workplace or industry that they can identify with. “People are attracted to individuals whose values, behaviour or path in career and life reflect their aspirations. This attraction coupled with some curiosity is a great conversation starter for exchange of views and opinions and shaping a ‘Speak Up’ culture. At Daimler Truck Asia, we have various Human Resources led programmes that support inclusion and diversity.”

When it comes to helping others navigate challenging or uncomfortable situations in the workplace, Michelle has a further piece of advice to offer. “Approach criticisms received from a position of curiosity. Try to detach yourself from being the object of negative criticism. Use phrases such as – ‘I’m sorry, what did you say? Could you help me understand what that meant?’”

While this approach can take some practice, Michelle says it provides a way for people to detach themselves from a particular issue, find out whether a comment has been misconstrued, and shape the dialogue in a constructive way. She adds, “You don’t have to get personal about feedback, but you do need to understand why that feedback was given, and to do that in an open-minded way.”

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