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Mike Molloy, Global Category Leader—Travel and Expense Management, Rio Tinto

Featured Member for July 2019

Mike has been involved in the travel and expense management industry since starting in Tokyo in the 1990s. For almost 20 years, he has managed industry-leading global programs spanning numerous corporate services for Credit Suisse in Hong Kong and Singapore, and Citibank from London.

The allure of Asia Pacific brought Mike back to Singapore in 2013 and since then he has managed one of the largest and most complex global travel and expense programs in the world at the mining and resources company, Rio Tinto. As Global Category Leader for Travel and Expense, Mike has total oversight of a program encompassing over 2 million transactions per year spanning 35 countries across cards and payments as well as commercial air, accommodation, charter aircraft, helicopters, car rentals plus the associated policies and risk management strategies. He manages all commercial aspects of the technological support for these services including expense system, online booking, travel security and other tools. This is done with a lean, "cracker-jack" crew scattered across the globe yet focused together on innovation and seamlessness.

When he isn’t travelling for work, Mike can often be spotted travelling with his family. He’s covered about 60 countries and territories around the globe so far. Otherwise, you’ll find him on the back of a bike, swimming laps or (begrudgingly) running in preparation for his next triathlon.

What are you passionate about with your job?

SERVICE: Making my colleagues' work lives easier and smoother. With over 2 million transactions per year across our area of remit, there are plenty of chances for things to go wrong. In the Travel and Expense (including Cards and Payments) world, plenty of things CAN go wrong. We strive to PROTECTkeep colleagues safe and secure, PREVENTissues from causing disruption and PREVAILby responding quickly and improving systems or processes. By doing these, we continue to reduce friction in the program and enhance the user experience.

My small team runs a 24/6 Travel and Expense community on Yammer where colleagues can get real-time assistance (from people, not bots!), exchange tips and help find solutions for a better overall program. Our Yammer Community is one of the Top 10 most active groups amongst thousands and has grown organically to over 2,000 users.

What are you most proud of about your job?

Quickly rolling out an exceptionally complex Travel and Expense and B2B program across a diverse geography ranging from China to Chile and from the remote Outback (“the red dirt”) of Australia to the Arctic Circle in Canada to the plains of Africa. To start, we went from inception (not having KYC-know your customer or AMLanti money launderingstarted) to delivering 5,000 cards on three continents in only six weeks. The program won Treasury Today Asia Pacific 2017 Card Program of the Year.

Mike's current challenge:

The saying goes that “the last mile is the hardest mile.” This is true. I think getting a consistent solution in some of our remaining markets takes way too much time. It really is nobody’s fault, but there are just hurdles in many places that take time to cross.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

FAMILY, fitness and travelling. I am married and have two beautiful, intelligent girls. We have been fortunate to live in Singapore and the U.K. together and I’ve also worked in Japan, Hong Kong, China and, of course, the U.S. We love to travel as a family and last year undertook a three-day sail through the spectacular Flores Islands in Indonesia (including Komodo). My wife and I have been to about 60 countries and hope to reach 100 before we…errrr, reach 100.

Otherwise, to counterbalance my addiction to sweets, I work out regularly by biking to and from my office (have done so every day for over five years), swim laps most nights and begrudgingly run on the weekends in preparation for my annual triathlon.

Fun fact: 

I studied ethnomusicology in university for two years. Specifically, I learned and participated in an Indonesian gamelan (orchestra of metal percussion instruments and gongs, drums). To be clear, this wasn’t my major, but I got into it purely by chance and it was fun. I even earned some credit!

What superpower would you like to have and why?

It’s a toss-up between flying and invisibility. I guess the latter as … who wouldn’t?

Program details: 

Thirty countries, heavy use of Central Bill Accounts (CTAs) in Australia for airline ticket purchases, 9,000 or so “cards in hand,” P-Cards in North America and a few elsewhere. We have a very creative use of some payment solutions in some locations and probably do things with centralized car and accommodation billing that hasn’t been done before thanks to innovative collaboration between our issuer, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the scheme Mastercard, our TMS American Express GBT and a number of other supporters.

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