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6 November

OVs around the World: From Worcester to Seoul

As the UK enters Lockdown 2 this week we are delighted to feature OV Tom Child (S 98-03) in a new edition of our OVs around the world series. Thank you Tom for sharing your fascinating and inspiring story with us…

2020 marks a decade since I left the UK and in that time I have been lucky enough to live and work in some incredible countries. From Melbourne to Singapore and now Seoul, I’ve experienced all weather extremes possible, but it certainly wasn’t planned that way. I now find myself in the suburbs of Gangnam, right in the heart of Seoul, South Korea, where the surroundings look very different to the cloisters of Worcester Cathedral.

I often get asked about my journey from rural Worcestershire to one of the busiest cities in the world and 2020 has provided ample time for reflection.

Ironically the doors in which I entered the corporate world were not opened due to my academic impact but rather a sporting one. After leaving King’s and going on to play rugby for Worcester, Harlequins and other national division clubs, I had developed an extended rugby network that had reached as far as Singapore. (Photo left, Winning Asia Rugby Championship with Singapore. [9 Test Caps for Singapore in total]). After a brief spell in Melbourne, I packed my bags and set off for the little red dot, for a role in brand management and to play a bit of rugby on the side.

Working within the marketing industry in South East Asia proved to be a wonderful opportunity with travel across the region and access to a whole new side of the world. With regional work spanning from Australia to India and up to Japan, my work slowly got recognition and in 2018 I moved to South Korea to lead brand strategy for Hyundai Motor Company. 

With a global remit, I have been undertaking the huge challenge of redefining the position of the brand across all markets as well as internalising that change from within the organisation and all of its 170,000 employees. A fear of public speaking had to take a back seat as I have regularly been addressing hundreds of people at conferences around the world, as well as meeting many partners who all make it possible to sell over 4 million cars worldwide. (Photo above, right, Presenting at the Global Dealer Conference, 2019)

The automotive industry has also been deeply impacted by this year’s pandemic, however Korea has handled the spread of the virus better than most. Life in Seoul is largely unchanged and it is quite surreal to see the rest of the world go through continued lockdowns, but it does provide hope that one day everything will come under control. 

For now Seoul is home, and I get to share all these adventures with my wife Sue who I met in Singapore and our 4 year old daughter, Isla. (Picture above, left, Team Child, Seoul, 2018). We’re both sure there is another adventure around the corner, but where that may be is anyone’s guess.