Under Mr Kuek's leadership, the operator faced many breakdowns and major challenges as the infrastructure is ageing.
In July 2015, the North-South and East-West line experienced a broke down during evening peak hour, affecting nearly half a million commuters.
Another horrific incident, involving two trainees who got killed during maintanance along Pasir Ris railway, also happened during his leadership.
By the end of last year, train tunnels in Bishan were flooded and, shortly after the incident, there was a train collision at Joo Koon collision, injuring more than 30 people.
However, there were major changes in the company under his leadership, such as the privatisation of SMRT and the implementation of a New Rail Financing Framework, where the government assumes ownership of all rail assets.
There were also replacements of several major components of the ageing system, such as power supplying third rail and the signalling system.
He was also helped to turn SMRT's loss-incurring bus business around. He started up a private-hire car division, responding to disruption from ride-hailing application providers, Uber and Grab.
According to ST, Mr Kuek also addressed deep-seated cultural issues within SMRT's 10,000 strong workforce, which he identified in the first week of his term. It is said that although it is not clear how successful he has been, SMRT's rail performance has improved significantly.
In 2017, the North-South line averaged 336,000 km before the delay occurred, up from 70,000 km in 2012.
It is said that the figure excluded disruptions related to the resignalling project, however, ST stated that even if it was included, the system was twice as reliable as it was in 2012.
Meanwhile, the East-West line hit 278,000 km, up from 60,000 km in 2012.
Mr Kuek also put up a target during annual performance review in March, which is to be at least three times as reliable in 2020 and to eliminate major delays, those exceeding 30 minutes.
Almost six years after he took up the role of president and group CEO of SMRT Corporation Limited, Desmond Kuek is stepping down from the role, according to a Straits Times report.
Citing reliable sources, ST reported that Kuek’s successor is expected to be former Chief of Defence Force (CDF) Neo Kian Hong. Neo, 54, succeeded Kuek, 55, as CDF in 2010. He is currently permanent secretary for defence development.
A formal announcement of the change will be made as early as Wednesday (18 April). This follows months of speculation that Kuek will step down.
Kuek‘s tenure as chief executive was marked by numerous incidents such as a tunnel flood that resulted in a 20-hour disruption in train services and a train collision that injured 38 people, as well as an increasing frequency of breakdowns.
They are exchanging one monkey for another!?...another useless BG?? , when will they ever learn....the Singapore taxpayers especially the 70% really a dumb lot..
When will they ever learn...when will , they, ever learn!...before they face a calamity ( like a major accident, that comes with death) caused by inept people who run companies that the majority travel on, everyday of the lives.
As I typed this in tears, I want to thank Desmond Quek Buay Gan for his volunteerism in taking up this million dollar salary. Good luck to Neo Liao Bee for stepping in to clear the shit left behind. Btw did he volunteered also?