While navigating rough times amid the COVID pandemic, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) turned to the experience and leadership of Dharma Chandran in managing their 4,000+ strong workforce.
When Dharma assumed the role of Chief People Officer at ABC in 2021, he brought with him an extensive portfolio of C-level leadership experience in the HR space, as well as in strategy, business advisory, legal and corporate work, and professional service in nearly every part of the world.
"My past roles have included responsibility for and/or working on the ground in: Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America, The Middle East and Africa. In these roles, I have an established track record of success in managing the people elements of large-scale transformations and transactions," he said.
Dharma may be holding a top-level position in the company today, but his beginnings were humble, working several part-time and full-time assistant roles in the sales and marketing space in the late '80s – all the while pursuing his bachelor's degree.
Hard work paid off as Dharma got a research manager position fresh out of the university, when he joined TASA Executive Search in 1991. During his three-year stint at TASA, which later became part of Heidrick and Struggles, he did market research and sourcing for clients.
Dharma spent another year at Cullen Egan Dell as Senior Consultant for Performance & Rewards, before breaking through as Staffing, Performance & Rewards Manager for McKinsey & Company in the Oceania region.
After a year and a half at McKinsey, he rose to the rank of Director of Human Resources for Southeast Asia. In this role, Dharma was the point person for setting up the HR infrastructure and implementation of McKinsey's global policies for the company’s startup in the region.
Dharma's three-year stint with McKinsey had him travelling throughout Southeast Asia as the company had five offices in the region including branches in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila. He would later take on HR and financial leadership roles in the next decade for companies such as Hewitt Associates, Towers Perrin, Westpac Banking Corporation, Leighton Holdings, and KPMG Australia.
Dharma also held advisory roles for several New South Wales government institutions, and even non-executive director roles for large private and unlisted retail organisations and more.
In between all these, Dharma even managed to take on consulting assignments through his own business TripleTee Advisory, which "specialises in advising clients on talent issues during transformations and transactions".