Member Spotlight: Franco Pesci
Member Spotlight: Franco Pesci
Franco Pesci looks at ease in ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove—the CEO of security sales consultancy YEM is also clearly in his happy place, as his wife Valentina and son Tobey are by his side. We had just 40 minutes to chat as the entrepreneur needed to take a call, but it was enough time to see how tight-knit the family is.
“This is something that people do not know about me,” starts Pesci. “They see me as an extrovert, who likes to enjoy life. But I am very much a family guy. When my wife and son were away recently for 10 weeks, it was challenging,” he adds in earnest.
Born in Bologna, Italy, Pesci first travelled to Asia as a 25-year-old. “My love of Asia started in Shanghai. I flew there with work every month in my role as an export manager. The city felt frenetic and was buzzing with innovation,” he says. But it was Singapore that allowed him to harness his love for family—it’s where he got married and his son was born—and fuelled his entrepreneurial spirit. He brought his security sales consultancy YEM to Singapore from Italy, helping security manufacturers penetrate Southeast Asian markets.
BACK TO HIS ROOTS
“I find Singapore a much safer hub for doing business,” he says, although the pandemic has thrown in a very different set of challenges. But he was ready to meet them head on and pivoted his business model. As his Singapore experts couldn’t travel, he employed more people on the ground in different countries in Southeast Asia to assist his team and clients. This gave his clients much-needed face-to-face support.
He is equally committed to the families of his employees. “I work to create wealth for me, my family and of course, for all the families of my employees because they count on me,” he says.
It was the needs of his own family that encouraged him to become a Member at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove—chiefly to give his tennis-playing son a place to practise. The Club also gave Pesci a chance to return to the water.
As a young boy, Pesci had spent many years on the Adriatic Coast with his late father on his fishing boat. “We would sail along the Adriatic Sea, around Sicily and Croatia,” he says. “When I close my eyes, I can still see the sapphire blue sea. There was no pollution back then, it was amazing.”
The father and son would spend hours on the water fishing. “Our best catch was when I was 10 years old—we caught a 365-kg bluefin tuna. My father was the angler and I was the skipper. It took us six hours to get the fish on board, ” says Pesci, adding that the memory of it makes him cry even today.
Embracing the shoreside life was Pesci’s way of giving his own son a taste of the childhood experiences he had. The pandemic also spurred him to get his sailing licence in Singapore—he got his first one at the age of 18 in Italy—although he is yet to take the plunge and own a boat—the family has been chartering yachts to St John’s island and others.
Although Pesci says he enjoys the quiet life, his work shows no signs of slowing down. He has since launched Mukiku, a digital marketing company, so named by Tobey, and is now about to launch his third brand. While three companies on the surface may seem unwieldy, Pesci said he designed them such that they all interconnect—with shared specialities.
Now, having brought an enterprising Singaporean general manager on board, he is enjoying focusing on being the CEO. “I like it to see my ideas taking shape. This is what I really love,” said Pesci. Despite the times, Pesci remains positive. “There are a lot of outstanding opportunities in Southeast Asia. If you have the right team, with the right channels and connection who speaks the language of the country, you can find them.”
Besides, with his everyday beginning right, he is confident he can do more. “I love the smile on my son’s face when he says buongiorno to us each morning. I love starting my day with that.”