NAME: Hank Kao
TITLE: General Manager, Asia
Unlike his fellow A-Team riders, Hank Kao is one of SRAM’s most important employees. As general manager of SRAM’s Asian operations, Kao oversees SRAM’s R&D center in Taiwan and many of the company’s most important factories.
Kao joined SRAM 17 years ago from Falcon Cycle Parts. As Falcon’s sales manager, Kao got to know Stan and F.K. Day as well as Jeff Shupe of SRAM.
When he joined SRAM, the company had only 12 people in Taiwan.
Now, SRAM’s Asian operations employ 1,300 in two Taiwan factories and another 400 in two Mainland China factories. As SRAM has grown through acquisitions and new products, so have Kao’s responsibilities.
Its Asian factories now manufacture much of SRAM’s derailleur, shifter and cassette parts, front forks and rear suspension for its RockShox products, Avid brakes, and Truvativ cranks, handlebars, pedals, stems and bottom brackets.
Kao has faced challenges. In October 2006, a fire in an adjacent building set one of SRAM’s factories ablaze. The building included a stamping facility that made chain rings for Truvativ cranksets.
“The stamping factory was 100 percent burned out,” Kao said. SRAM lost nearly four weeks of production on the Truvativ cranksets but soon recovered.
Kao and his wife, Sandra Tai, have been married for 27 years. Their children are Annie, 25, and John, 20. When he isn’t riding his bike, Kao enjoys photography.