Features

‘Even away from home, I get the triathlon training in’ – 24 hours with…CNBC International’s Lee Thompson

An only occasional visitor to Singapore, CNBC head of international communications and strategic partnerships Lee Thompson has a packed schedule, which includes an early morning workout with the local team

6.00: Overseeing marketing and communications for CNBC, I split my time between our international headquarters in London and Singapore.

This morning, I’m in Singapore. One of my favourite cities on the planet. Living in London, the heat is a huge novelty and I love it. When I’m in Asia, I tend to wake up around six to catch up on emails from the US and Europe while I’ve been asleep.6.30: I head to the newly opened Barry’s Bootcamp on Robinson Road. Work is a huge part of my life, given our network broadcasts in 130 countries. There are always emails to respond to and colleagues to connect with. I find working out a great time to relax and clear the mind.

Given I’m an avid ‘bootcamper’ in London, my team asked me to take them along to try it out. I, of course, obliged.

8.15: The team did me proud. They killed it. Protein shakes in hand, the marketing team heads back to the office. I leave for a breakfast meeting with my head of communications, Clarence.

8.30: There are just over three months to go for CNBC’s East Tech West (our annual tech retreat for some of the world’s biggest names in tech in Nansha, Guangzhou).

We catch up with our agency partner who will be supporting my team to run the event press office on the ground. With a diverse array of local and international media attending, it’s really shaping up to be a fantastic event.

9.30: I head over to the CNBC studio at the Singapore Exchange (SGX) just as our flagship show Squawk Box, comes off air. With editions in Asia, Europe and the US, Squawk Box is the go-to for many of the world’s biggest CEOs and business leaders to break down the biggest news in finance to help them get ahead.

I briefly catch up with some of our on-air talent about upcoming assignments. We have a weekly feature – every Monday – on the Money FM breakfast show called ‘The week ahead with CNBC.’ I’m pleased that yesterday’s edition went well.

10.30: I head back to the CNBC office at International Plaza. First order of business is to catch up with my team. As I’m not here full time, I always try to spend as much time as possible with them when we’re here.

11.30: I attend a conference call with our teams in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Beijing to discuss preparations for East Tech West. Last year’s edition was a huge success and we want to build on that to deliver an even better event this year.

The team share that Huawei chairman Howard Liang, as well as senior executives from Standard Chartered, Nasdaq, PIMCO and Wanda Film Group are all now confirmed to speak. Great news.

12.30: Lunch time. As I head out to the busy lift lobby, I bump into Roshan Vaswani, our Asia-Pacific head of news and programming. We decide to head to Chatterbox for some famous Singapore chicken rice. Delicious, as always.

13.30: The second half of my day begins with another meeting, this time with the team from McLaren Racing. CNBC is a global partner of McLaren and we will be co-hosting events later this year aligned to the races in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. McLaren are a great partner who are having an awesome 2019 season.

15.00: I take a call from our head of social media and digital video, Cristy Garratt. She is calling to brief me on our new Snapchat series. Cristy and her team have done a great job in the last three years at creating some amazing content across all social media platforms.

My personal favourite is CNBC Explains on YouTube which takes a topical news story or issue and explains it in a five-to-seven minute video. That series helped our YouTube audience grow 600% last year. If you haven’t seen it yet, do check it out.

 16.00: I’m a stickler for not liking emails in my inbox. So I welcome an hour to catch up and respond to the flurry of emails that have come in, especially since London’s now awake.

17.00: My last meeting of the day is with my marketing and partnerships lead, Steph. We recently launched our ‘Let’s Talk Business’ campaign at Hong Kong airport. Hong Kong is a key market for us and home to one of our busiest bureaus and we talk through next steps.

One of my favourite things about my team is that they’re all extremely creative and are always pushing the brand forward. Steph then talks me through plans for a campaign we’re about to run for one of our podcasts, ‘Beyond the Valley’.

18.30: I leave the office and head to Athlete Lab for a bike session. In addition to my role at CNBC, I also compete for Great Britain in triathlon. So even when I’m away from home, I still have to get the training in.

20.00: I have some friends over from Sydney who are heading to Lavo for dinner. How could I not join?

22.00: After some delicious Italian food I head back to the hotel. To unwind, I often listen to podcasts. As I didn’t get chance to watch much of our on-air content today due to my meetings, I pop on our Squawk Box Europe podcast to get a take on the biggest stories we covered in Europe today. I then head off to bed.

Lee Thompson is CNBC International’s head of international communications and strategic partnerships based in London

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