K Premmananth: Driving Financial Inclusion With Befitting Strategies

K Premmananth: Driving Financial Inclusion With Befitting Strategies

K. Premmananth, CEO & Managing Director - Global Commercial

K. Premmananth

CEO & Managing Director - Global Commercial

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving financial sector, it is essential for leaders to stay agile, foster collaboration, and embrace emerging technologies to thrive. By prioritizing customer needs, embracing a culture of continuous learning, financial services leaders can lead their organizations to success. K Premmananth, a respected leader in the financial services industry of Asia Pacific, epitomizes these qualities through his extensive professional background and experiences.

Having honed his expertise in cross-border remittance, Premmananth has made substantial contributions to renowned companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram. From forging crucial connections within the remittance industry to establishing strategic partnerships with esteemed banking institutions, he has consistently showcased his leadership skills and industry knowledge.

Furthermore, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to establish International Currency Connections, a venture that provided invaluable consulting services and acquired the remittance license in Hong Kong. Through this venture, Premmananth had a significant impact on the market and solidified his position as a respected industry professional. His track record includes spearheading groundbreaking initiatives, such as significant collaboration with reputed banks in Asia, and introducing innovative customer communication platforms. These achievements demonstrate his ability to lead strategic endeavours and think outside the box. Moreover, his success in turning round struggling businesses during his tenure with different multinational companies showcases his leadership capabilities and strategic vision.

Currently serving as CEO & MD of Lightnet Singapore, Premmananth continues to drive growth and foster financial inclusion. CEO Insights Asia is thrilled to interview him.

Committed to delivering innovative solutions and positively impacting the lives of the unbanked and underbanked populations

What has been a motivational factor in your journey so far?

My motivation lies in driving change and making a difference. As a leader in the FinTech sector, I am driven to create positive transformations every day. Whether it's meeting customer needs by providing cost-efficient services or mentoring and shaping the next generation of staff and leaders, I am dedicated to making a lasting impact. I understand the challenges and opportunities that arise for young professionals in the industry, as I have personally experienced the need for better guidance and support in my own career journey. I strive to be the catalyst for change, offering opportunities for growth and improvement to those who are seeking it. In the remittance industry, it is essential to adapt and evolve, no longer relying on high margins but instead focusing on delivering the best services at affordable prices. Embracing change is crucial for both individual growth and transforming the industry for the better.

Share some of the milestones you cherish in your journey.

One of my significant achievements was during my time at Western Union, where I led the retail Singapore business from 2004 to 2011. Under my leadership, the Lucky Plaza location in Singapore became the largest transacting location globally for Western Union, a remarkable feat. This success highlighted my ability to build and transform remittance services into highly productive and profitable operations.

After Western Union, I joined MoneyGram and played a key role in formulating the digital transformation strategy and forging a partnership with DBS, one of the established banks in the region.

In addition to my roles at Western Union and MoneyGram, I held leadership positions in Transfast and VoiceCash. I also had the opportunity to be an entrepreneur, establishing International Currency Connections, a remittance consultancy company.

How would you describe your leadership approach?

I believe that while knowledge and ideas are important, but it is the execution as a team that truly makes a difference. I maintain an open policy with my team, encouraging open discussions and equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their position or rank in the company. I value and listen to their opinions, taking steps to create a comfortable environment where honest feedback can thrive. By fostering healthy discussions, I aim to make informed decisions that address the realities of our market position and work collaboratively to find solutions to challenges at different levels. I believe the real testimony to my leadership is that significant percentage of my team always follow me to different companies where I move. “When we take care of the staff, the staff will take care of the business” has been my mantra.

What’s your advice for young aspiring leaders?

Focus on understanding the real problems and needs of the market rather than pushing internally developed solutions. Many established companies struggle because they develop solutions based on discussions within their offices without truly addressing the actual problem. The success of new-age companies lies in their ability to provide real-time solutions to real problems. Therefore, it is crucial for leaders to grasp the true problems in the market and design solutions that effectively address them. Additionally, assembling a team with the right skill set is essential. Regardless of background, race, gender, or education, it is important to choose individuals who are the right fit for the job. Selecting the right people for the right roles is a key aspect of driving success.

K. Premmananth, CEO & Managing Director - Global Commercial, Lightnet Singapore

Premmananth received his Bachelor of Business Studies (HONS) from the University of Sunderland (United Kingdom). He is married with three children and likes spending quality time with his family. He is passionate about football and continuous to play every week.


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