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Amrop Grows with New Partner Hires in EMEA and Asia


Amrop announces the recent addition of eight Partners and Consultants within its global partnership of executive search professionals.

  • Sam Aston, Partner - Malmö
  • Dan Chan, Associate Partner - Hong Kong
  • Gregor Frey, Partner – Zurich
  • Bob de Groot, Partner – Amsterdam
  • Hedda Hanke, Managing Director – Duesseldorf
  • J.Y. Hong, Senior Partner - Seoul
  • Ott Karolin, Partner – Tallinn
  • Takaaki Naito, Consultant - Tokyo

Sam Aston is an experienced business leader and entrepreneur within the IT and service industries. He is especially focused in identifying talents and has worked with recruitment, mentorship and career coaching for the past 15 years in his role as CEO and entrepreneur for several different companies. Sam started his career as a technology consultant working within the Retail sector in Switzerland for a global client. He has also worked within the energy and pharmaceutical sectors for global clients. Sam is a member of the Board for several companies and organizations, including Malmö University.

Dan Chan specializes in the Industrial, Telecommunications, Medical and Professional Services practices, leveraging his almost 30 years' China and Asia Pacific regional experience in corporate/business finance and business development management. Before joining Amrop, he was the regional finance head of a technology company for 10 countries in Asia Pacific. Prior to that, Dan was VP Sales & Marketing for a family business in the apparel industry after five years of regional leadership roles in Finance, IT and Logistics at Lubrizol. Dan started his career with Peat Marwick (KPMG) before he joined Bank of Boston and Hewlett Packard in Hong Kong. He later led the JV conversion for HP's medical instrument business in China. Dan has also served as Board member of a listed company and various local companies across Asia.

Gregor Frey has held national and international management positions as a Partner at KPMG and Andersen for more than ten years and as co-founder of two start-ups in Switzerland and Europe. He is a proven line manager and consultant supporting Boards of Directors and executive committees as well as heads of IT departments and risk management. He focuses on executive search in the Industrial and Technology sectors, as well as in Professional Services and Financial Services. Gregor holds a BSc in Computer Science and completed post-graduate management studies at the University of St. Gallen.

Bob de Groot started his career as an HR Manager in the healthcare industry. He later joined KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, where he held positions in Corporate Recruitment, HR Management, Service & Quality Management and Management Development. He then joined the Red Cross organization as HR Director for The Netherlands. Bob continued his career as a Consultant and later as a Partner at a leading Dutch firm in Executive Search, Recruitment and Development firm. Bob works across a broad range of industries with in-depth knowledge of the Public Sector, NGOs, Not-For-Profit, public and private Foundations and Associations. He focuses on executive and senior management as well as professional expert positions. Besides his work for Amrop, Bob is also an academic instructor and author in the fields of HRM, Talent Management and Management Development.

Hedda Hanke has worked in executive search since 1990, achieving the role of Managing Partner at one of Europe's leading executive search consultancies, where she headed the SME and Retail & Distribution Competence Centers. Hedda has built expertise working for internationally operating technology companies, with a particular focus on mechanical and tool engineering and construction supply and equipment, and for major players in multi-channel retail and distribution. She also has deep experience advising and supporting globally operating family businesses across all industries.

J.Y. Hong joins Amrop after a 35-year career working in multinational companies and their affiliates, including JV companies, around the world. He has held several regional and global executive roles, including CEO/President and Country Manager, and has diverse functional experience covering sales, marketing, corporate strategy and planning, HR, finance and investment, manufacturing, supply chain and JV operation across various industries throughout the Asia Pacific region. Earlier in his career, J.Y. worked at ExxonMobil Chemical, in executive roles across the affiliate organization. He has also held the role of CEO at Esso Petroleum Korea and at ExxonMobil Chemical Korea. J.Y. is a senior advisor to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ott Karolin has 20 years of experience working on senior management Boards and teams operating in highly dynamic environments, with a focus on sales, marketing and HR management roles. He has facilitated both start-up and change management processes in different organizations in the Financial Services, FMCG and Real Estate sectors, with experience working in Scandinavia, Southern Europe, Russia and the Balkans. He has developed and implemented HR strategy and policies for a variety of business lines and organizations of different sizes.

Takaaki Naito joins Amrop from a career that includes progressive roles at Nomura Securities, where he was originally responsible for their fixed income related business. After 10 years, he transitioned to working as an investment banker. In 2008, Takaaki was promoted to Senior Managing Director in charge of the Asset Finance Division where he primarily managed the real estate, acquisition finance and infrastructure business. At Amrop, he works with a range of clients, focused on the Financial Services sector.

About Amrop

With 82 offices in 55 countries, Amrop provides services in Executive Search, Leadership Assessment and Board Consulting. It is the largest partnership of its kind. Amrop’s Context Driven approach to executive search helps our clients find Leaders For What’s Next - top talent, adept at working across borders in markets around the world.