Sunday, August 4, 2013


He has all the right attributes, criteria and passion, says Mark Lankester

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 August 2013 – Filipino Jonathan Yabut who emerged winner of The Apprentice Asia reality television show on AXN has all the right attributes and criteria to be part of Tony Fernandes’ AirAsia-Tune Group business enterprises, said one of Tony’s advisors on the programme, Mark Lankester.

“Jonathan’s passion, attitude, charisma and team player qualities have been apparent since the commencement. He has shown that not only is he a man of many ideas but most importantly is able to execute them well too in a team environment. Tony, Kathleen and myself were very impressed by this young man and I have no doubt he will thrive within the AirAsia-Tune Group environment,” said Mark in congratulating the 27-year old University of the Philippines economics graduate.

Mark sat on the Board of The Apprentice Asia as an Advisor to Tony, alongside AirAsiaExpedia CEO Kathleen Tan as another Advisor. The weekly show has been airing on AXN to approximately 150 million homes across Asia commencing May 2013 and culminated with the final episode last night.

Dubbed 'The Ultimate Job Interview', The Apprentice Asia was the regional adaptation of the US reality series based on the format created by reality TV guru Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor) and produced by Fremantle media Asia. 

Jonathan was selected winner over another finalist contestant, Singaporean Andrea Loh. It was a gruelling, neck-to-neck competition for the two in the final episode, before Tony announced Jonathan as Asia’s first Apprentice who would be hired by AirAsia.

“To be part of the show with amongst the best professional and entrepreneurial young talents across Asia was truly an amazing experience. What made it particularly interesting was as an Advisor you are actually in the midst of all that happens but at a safe distance. That step back allows you to see what's happening around the contestants and the train wrecks which are heading their way,” said Mark of his experience with The Apprentice Asia. 

Mark is the Group CEO of Tune Hotels, an international value hotel brand that started six years ago with its base in Kuala Lumpur. Tune Hotels is part of Tune Group, a lifestyle business conglomerate co-founded by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun, who are the Group CEO and Deputy Group CEO respectively of Asia’s largest low cost carrier AirAsia.

"The time spent with the production team and contestants of The Apprentice Asia made it clear to me that we have such great talents and capabilities in Asia and we can take on the world. Tony himself is a highly successful entrepreneur and is a role model to not only the contestants but also the viewers and fans of The Apprentice Asia," he added.

Meanwhile Jonathan, jointly with fellow Filipino contestant Celina Le Neindre hosted a viewing party in Manila last night, which ended as a celebration of Jonathan’s win as Asia’s first Apprentice. They were joined by about 300 friends and fans watching the finale on AXN.

An overjoyed Jonathan said: “Tonight is not about me; it’s about the people who had contributed to make who I am right now. People will eventually forget about Jonathan Yabut but I do not want to forget the people who’ve made me who I am. Life is about sharing a part of you with someone and finding what you had shared grew into something bigger and better.”

“This victory is for each and every Filipino out there. You can never be too small to dream big, because dreams are for free so catch it and seize it while the iron is hot. This victory is for the Philippines and the rest of Asia – the power is ours to make it happen,” said Jonathan to a thunderous applause from the audience.

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