Past Event: Stanford GSB Chapter of Hong Kong

Evening Reception, Tuesday, 14th October 2014
Speaker Series:
Chief Designer, Style Porsche, Porsche AG
Founder & Design Director, Brainchild Design Group
Drama Design Values: Autos, Emotion & Saving Porsche
How a Local Hong Kong Kid Helped Turn Around Germany’s Leading Car Company and its Most Iconic Product Line
Special Thanks:
To the HK Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization ( who have sponsored Pinky Lai’s trip to Hong Kong during which he has made time available to the GSB Chapter.
Time: 18:30 Registration
19:00 Remarks, followed by Q&A
20:30 Close
Club Lusitano, 24th floor, 16 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong
Drinks (Open Bar) & Canapés. Early Bird Credit Card/PayPal Pre-Payment of HKD 380 if made by 23:59 Sunday night 12 October. Post-Deadline/Cash/Walk-In charge will be HKD 580. If paying in cash please bring exact change as no change will be provided at the event. No refunds will be provided in the event of no-show/cancellation of attendee reservation.
To register, please go online and CLICK HERE to RSVP and PAY NOW. Please note space is limited, so Early Bird registration is encouraged.. Problems registering or questions? Please contact Chapter VP Beatrice Wong at
Speaker's Bio
See below

Event Details:
The Stanford GSB Chapter of Hong Kong is pleased to invite you to an evening cocktail, canapés and discussion with Germany-based award-winning auto designer, Pinky Lai, the mastermind of the Porsche 911, the Boxster, the Cayman and the 996 Turbo, and is widely credited, through his revolutionary design, as one of the key individuals who brought Porsche back to its feet after its near bankruptcy in the 1990s.

Shortly after Pinky’s joining the company in 1989, the German company's lenders pulled in their credit lines as sales of the classic 911 slumped and customers showed little interest in the 928 model - which Porsche was relying upon being the mainstay of its line-up. Toyota had offered the equivalent of €1.5 billion for the company, as well as Daimler expressing interest in the company, but the family was unwilling to sell.

Instead, the company needed something other than the 911, which at that time was still based on its original design shell from 1963. In response, in 1992, Pinky started penning the 996 designs and at the same time, working on the Boxster Exterior Concept. Re-conceptualizing the legacy 911 for the first time from its original design, with a radically new body shell, both cars became huge hits and turned Porsches’ fortunes around.

How did Pinky convince Porsche to abandon 40 years of design tradition with the 911 and trust his vision? What were the challenges faced in converting design to realization? How did his success change how Porsche approached new production design and implication? What lessons did this hold for other auto manufacturers and the overall competitive landscape? What lessons and insights does Pinky’s own career, from Hong Kong Telephone Company to Porsche hold?

We could not be more delighted to have Pinky share his lessons, insights and experience with our Chapter. We hope you can join.

Speaker's Bio: Pinky Lai
Chief Designer, Style Porsche, Porsche AG

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Pinky first worked as an apprentice in the shipping industry while studying Naval Architecture at night school and also worked for Hong Kong Telecom as a draftsman, drawing cables in architectural plans. Jens Munk offered Pinky a trainee position in interior design. Then, at the age of 21, Pinky bought a one-way ticket to Rome and enrolled himself at the Istituto superiore per le industrie artistiche (ISIA), Italy's oldest industrial design school, graduating with honors. This was then followed by a two-year full scholarship on transportation design at the Royal College of Art in London, earning an MA, where he won the John Ogier Memorial Award from the Royal Society of Art.

He began his auto design career with Ford in Germany, which led him to Italy and Japan working with Mazda and Ghia, during which period he worked on such cars as the Escort, Sierra and Scorpio. After returning to Germany, he joined BMW as a senior designer, winning responsibility for the BMW 3 Series design, among others. Then, at the age of 38, Porsche recruited Pinky to lead the design team that was responsible for all the legendary Porsches and became the leading Exterior Designer for all of new 911 Models (996 coup and cabriolet).

Pinky has won numerous awards for the 911 Turbo and 996 models between 1997 and 2003, including five from Italy's L'Automobile Piu Bella Del Mondo (the World's Most Beautiful Automobiles). But his biggest award was the 2002 German Design Award for the 911 Turbo, beating Ferrari, BMW and AMG Mercedes.

Based in Germany, Pinky is married with two sons and practices long-distance running and participates at least one marathon a year, running twice in Karlsuhe, Schwarzwald (Black Forest), Berlin, New York San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Honolulu. He speaks German, Italian, English and Cantonese. He has written a book, Ideation, covering some of his most successful designs.