'I was so consumed by work': DBS CEO Piyush Gupta reflects on career failures, gives tips on navigating setbacks

'I was so consumed by work': DBS CEO Piyush Gupta reflects on career failures, gives tips on navigating setbacks
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/DBS

Work-life balance can be a real conundrum for many - especially for those who are at the starting point of their careers.

For Piyush Gupta, the chief executive of DBS Group, giving up his interests to pursue his career is one of his many regrets in life.

In a TikTok video shared by DBS on Wednesday (April 19) the 63-year-old said: "I made that mistake in my twenties and thirties… I was so consumed by work and did nothing else.

"It's one of my biggest regrets in life. I found it very hard to go back and pick up what I have left along the way."


Speaking at the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board's Ready for Life Digital Festival last November, Gupta advised against giving up one's interests just to focus on work. 

"If you like music, find some time for it," Gupta said. "Keep your interests going. These anchor you. And in these times of anxiety, you need [them] to hold on as you go ahead."

Regrets, staying grounded

In the CPF forum, DBS's Gupta also reflected on the failures and successes over his 40-year career.

Gupta, who has been the bank's CEO since 2009, shared the importance of "constantly planning" on "what you will feel satisfied with".

"It sounds morbid… But on your deathbed when you look back, what are you going to say [on] regrets?" he said.

Dishing out a piece of career advice, Gupta said it's a good thing to spend a bit of time "telescoping backwards".

"Think about what job you want to do 10 to 15 years from now. Then you can plan [on] what you should do," he added.

On getting overwhelmed by "accelerating changes", Gupta said it's important to stay grounded "in what you are".

"Once [you become comfortable with yourself], then the 'fear of missing out', the desire and the envy goes away."

In the comments, netizens praised Gupta's words of advice. 

"Solid words," a netizen said, while another shared that one should "make time for things that are important" to them. 

DBS CEO's pay raise in 2022

Back in 2022, Gupta saw his annual earnings climb 13.2 per cent to $15.4 million, according to DBS's annual report released last month.

This comes after the bank reported a 20 per cent surge in net profit to $8.19 billion in February, with earnings driven by higher interest rates.

It also achieved a new high on ROE of 15 per cent, up from 12.5 per cent in 2021.

Gupta's 2022 pay consisted of a salary of $1.5 million, a cash bonus of $5.77 million and deferred remuneration in cash and shares of $8.04 million.

There was also a non-cash component - comprising club, car and driver benefits - worth $80,529 as part of his pay package, according to the bank's annual report.

This article has been edited for clarity.

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