Keynote Speakers

Craig Leeson is the fourth generation in his family to work in the media business. He began his career in newspapers before moving to radio and television. He earned multiple journalism and presenting awards while corresponding with ABC Television in Australia before moving to Hong Kong to present and report on the Handover and other Asian affairs for global and regional broadcasters such as Asia Television, CNN and BBC. In the late 90s he covered the fall of Suharto and Indonesia’s independent elections as well as the impending East Timor War. He has a New York Festival Award for Best International Documentary and an Asian TV award for a documentary on the Maoist rebels of Nepal and was one of the first television presenters to investigate the economic sanctions imposed on Burma and to interview democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. In early 2002 he moved to the National Geographic Channel and created and produced the Channel’s first in-house series for Asia, called Geowatch Asia. Craig then took an executive challenge and accepted a role as Media Strategist at executive level for Richard Li (PCCW), helping to restructure Network Of the World (NOW broadband) in London and working on Asia’s three biggest joint venture projects with Telstra Australia. He returned to broadcasting with his own new production company, Ocean Vista Films Ltd, and produced some of Asia’s most iconic documentaries, including Marco Polo: The Forbidden Mystery Revealed (NGC), voted the 13th best documentary of all time on National Geographic Channel Asia. Craig has since produced and directed hundreds of tv commercials, corporate films and documentaries for broadcasters, including his feature film directorial debut on the Plastic Oceans film project looking at the problem of plastic pollution devastating the world’s marine environment. Craig is also the creator and chairman of the I Shot Hong Kong film festival and plays in a published rock band.

Jérôme Ponrouch is Head of Company Engagement, BNP Paribas Corporate and Institutional Banking (CIB) for the Middle East & Africa region. Since January 2020 Jérôme has been based in Bahrain, BNP Paribas’ regional Headquarters, in an earlier capacity as Head of CSR and Sustainable Finance for MEA. In his current expanded role, Jérôme’s Company Engagement mission covers Corporate & Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Communication, where he can count on a team of dedicated Communication professionals. His focus is to support the business origination resources of the bank (coverage & product lines) and grow Sustainable Finance as a client business, yet ensuring compliance with BNP Paribas’ comprehensive set of CSR Policies. Jérôme also promotes internal and external awareness on matters and expertise pertaining to the broad development of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG). This involves both internal training initiatives, client workshops and external events as a spokesperson. His responsibilities include coordination with BNP Paribas’ global network to optimise discipline in business origination, and maximise success with clients on their sustainability journeys. Out of thirty years with BNP Paribas, Jérôme dedicated twenty as a Banker in France, Italy, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. He led and coordinated teams across the bank’s diverse products and services, serving both institutional and corporate clients. Based in New York City from 2014 to 2019, Jérôme was in charge of Multinational Institutional Clients, also leading the development of a Sustainable Finance commercial strategy within this client segment. From 2008 and 2014, he was Head of FIC Insurance Asia-Pacific (APAC), a Coverage unit focused on the insurance industry in that region. Prior to Hong Kong, Jérôme was Deputy Head of Financial Institution Clients Coverage in Italy for four years, between 2004 and 2008. He developed his Investment Banking acumen with the financial industry from Paris in 2000 when BNP Paribas established a more formalised engagement of financial institutions as a strategic client group. Jérôme began his career with BNP Paribas in Paris in 1992 as a Credit Analyst. He moved to Global Markets – Fixed Income as a Corporate Clients Marketer in 1994, before joining the Inspection Générale division in 1997. He is a Graduate from Université Claude Bernard in Lyon and EDHEC Business School. He speaks three languages, French, English, Italian and says he forgot Spanish when he was in Italy.