8 New hires to get SMRT on track - 4 from military
SMRT Corp's new chief executive Desmond Kuek has hired eight key managers in a bid to steer the beleaguered transport operator back on track - and there are more to come.
Four of the new arrivals were once high-ranking officers in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and all eight have experience relevant to their new roles in the Temasek-owned publicly listed company.
SMRT announced the new appointments to its staff last week. They are as follows:
Director of rail infrastructure Simon Tang, 35, who was previously with Hong Kong's MTR Corp and Kowloon Canton Railway Corp.
Deputy director of workers liaison and industrial relations Michael Chua, 48. Lieutenant- Colonel Chua has 27 years' experience in the SAF dealing with special operations and industry relations.
Director of buses Tan Kian Heong, 45. Colonel Tan spent 15 years with the SAF, with his last appointment as head of its land operations faculty.
Vice-president, legal and corporate secretariat, Jacquelin Tay, 44. Ms Tay was previously senior legal director at SingTel.
Director of human resources Gerard Koh, 42. Col Koh spent 16 years with the SAF, with his last post as head of national service affairs.
Director of train operations Alvin Kek, 45. A 14-year SAF veteran, Col Kek's previous position was formation commander, chief engineering officer.
Vice-president of corporate communications and customer services Kalaiselvi Natarajan, 40. Ms Natarajan spent 17 years in public relations, with her last job at Ogilvy.
Deputy director of Thomson Line Leow Onn Wah, 40. Mr Leow was previously with the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority.
With the exception of Ms Natarajan, who replaces SMRT spokesman Goh Chee Kong who left in October, the other new appointees are additions to beef up the management ranks.
Mr Kuek, who assumed the helm barely three months ago, said the new executives "come from all walks (of life)".
"Yes, some were from the military... but they have been selected because they have the right attributes and experience for the tasks at hand," he added.
He told The Straits Times that the eight formed "the first tranche" of changes, with the next one coming soon.
Mr Kuek said there will also be some "internal reshuffles" in the current management team, as "part of an ongoing process to gear up to meet higher operational performance, reliability and customer service standards, better workforce engagement and more sustainable growth into the future".
Mr Kuek added: "The new additions to the management team will fill organisational gaps and increase our capacity to meet new challenges."
"In retrospect, it's easy to say that we should have been building up our infrastructure a lot faster; that we should have got our trains running; that we should have got our HDB flats built more. At that time, we thought we were doing the right thing."
- PM Lee