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Executive Profile

Robert G. LeesRobert Lees is a senior executive with global expertise and over 30 years of experience working with decision makers in business, academia and government at the most senior levels, across the Asia Pacific region. Bob served for many years as Secretary General and then President and CEO of the highly respected Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC), the Asia Pacific region’s oldest business organization. 

His extensive contacts in government, business (at the Fortune Global 500 level), key international and regional media organizations, and the academic world have made him a trusted advisor and highly regarded strategist in the areas of market entry, customer development, and relationship management.
With his experience in the corporate and consulting worlds, in addition to a decade heading the Pacific Basin Economic Council – an organization of CEOs and other senior business leaders of the largest corporations in 20 countries around the Pacific – Mr. Lees has built a strong reputation for identifying and implementing growth opportunities for American and other extra-regional organizations seeking to penetrate the China and Asia-Pacific marketplace. 
While Mr. Lees has been a strong advocate of open markets throughout his professional life. . He is a firm believer in the integrity and transparency of business and governmental dealings, and strong corporate governance.
Mr. Lees is a frequent speaker and commentator on Asia-Pacific business, economic and political topics. He has been quoted and interviewed by, among others, the Associated Press, BBC, Reuters, Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, and NHK (Japan).
Details of Mr. Lees’ accomplishments and detailed career experience available by request.
More Cincinnati firms vying for business in China

CINCINNATI - Procter & Gamble is doing it.

So are GE Aviation and GBBN Architects.

They’re among Cincinnati area businesses rapidly expanding their presence in China.

It’s a high stakes game.

Thousands of employees already service Chinese clients and customers. The number is expected to grow.

“China is the world’s largest market for computers and cars,” said Bob Lees, First Vice-Chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

GE Aviation last week signed a deal with China creating a joint venture for avionics research and development. It’s anticipated that the new company will create computer operating systems for aviation.

That could significantly boost the bottom line.

“We had about $778 million in business with China for 2010, but this year we’re looking like that’s going to be increased all the way up to $1 billion,” said GE Aviation Spokesperson Deb Case.

Case said there are 2,500 GE jet engines currently being used in China with orders for another 1,000 to 1,200 on the books. Service contracts and spare parts will add revenue as well.

Work is progressing on a new airplane that will be built in China, but powered by GE engines. Development is underway on a new GE/CFM engine for a narrow body plane as well.

That means jobs for GE Aviation across the United States and in Evendale.

“We have about 1,800 jobs in the U.S. that are tied directly to our business that we do in China,” Case said. “In Evendale, specifically, we’ve got about 500.”

GBBN Architects is headquartered at 8th & Broadway, Downtown, but does 40 percent of its business in China, according to CEO Matthew Schottelkotte.

“We started in China designing housing,” said Schottelkotte. “It’s grown into health care. It’s grown into cultural projects and really blossomed to reflect what we do here in the United States in all our services.”

Thirty people currently work in GBBN’s China office, but Schottelkotte said plans are to double that in 2011. He added the key to doing business in China is building strong relationships and doing great work.

That’s a message leaders of the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce drive home to firms seeking to do business in China.

Shau Zavon, the Chamber’s Founding President, said those companies must avoid two common mistakes – staying home and going it alone in China.

“I think they have to go to China to understand the market and to understand what Chinese do in their market,” she said. “A lot of people try to sell their product in China, but they’re afraid to go to China.”

Zavon said businesses need to partner with somebody on the ground in China to succeed.

“If you just go there along without somebody who knows the China market, who knows the China people, it wouldn’t work,” she said.

Lees said Greater Cincinnati firms need to help the Chinese Chamber let the rest of the world know the region is as great place to do business.

Next is something Lees heard President Obama tell the Chinese on a trip to the Far East.

“The United States market is pretty much saturated with imported products and that companies that are based abroad need to look at manufacturing more in the United States,” Lees recalled the president stating.

“The markets also need to be more open for U.S. made products to go in that direction as well.”

APEC 2010 November 12-13

Bob with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara

Bob with CCPIT Vice Chairman Mr. Yu Ping

Bob with United States Senator Daniel Inouye.
Asia Inc. interview

Robert Lees was recently interviewed in Asia Inc. Magazine on this opinions on the changing political environment in the United States.
Robert Lees Appointed to Global Sources' Board of Directors

HONG KONG, July 31 /Xinhua-PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Global Sources' board of directors has appointed Robert Lees, 58, as a member of the board, effective July 30, 2007. Lees fills a vacancy on the board, bringing the total number of directors to eight.


CEO Forum - Beijing Nov 6-7 2007

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair with Bob
Middle East Asia Forum April 15-16 2008

Bob Lees with Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi Minister of Foreign Trade, Government of United Arab Emirates and Ronnie Chan, Chairman of Hang Lung Properties Hong Kong