Singapore – SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) is pleased to announce that Mr Neo Kian Hong will succeed Mr Desmond Kuek as Group CEO on 1 August 2018.

SMRT Chairman, Mr Seah Moon Ming, welcomed Mr Neo as SMRT Group CEO, following a global search for a successor for Mr Kuek.

Mr Seah said: “On behalf of the Board, I welcome Kian Hong as the next Group CEO of SMRT. The Board was impressed with Kian Hong’s appreciation of interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as his vision and experience in leveraging new technologies for public service. I have had the opportunity to work alongside Kian Hong during the SARS crisis and witnessed his sense of mission, hands-on approach to problem-solving and decisive leadership. Kian Hong had also proven his operational leadership when he led the SAF contingent in East Timor. We are confident that he will be able to lead SMRT towards achieving operation excellence. As a Board and stewards of SMRT, we look forward to supporting Kian Hong as he takes SMRT forward.”

Currently the Permanent Secretary for Defence Development at the Ministry of Defence, Mr Neo was a former Permanent Secretary (Education Development) at the Ministry of Education, and the seventh Chief of Defence Force in the SAF.  Mr Neo will be retiring from the Administrative Service to join SMRT.

Mr Neo said of his appointment: “I am conscious that there will be challenges ahead.  I know the public expects safe and reliable train services.  I will work very hard to meet their expectations. I also recognise that successive generations of board, management and staff have worked very hard to deliver a good system. I will do my best to build on their foundation, and work with the SMRT team at all levels, as well as with LTA, to continue to deliver, and improve on, a reliable and sustainable system.”

Mr Seah also thanked Mr Kuek for his contributions over the last six years.

“The Board would also like to express its appreciation to Desmond for his deep commitment and significant contributions to strengthen SMRT’s overall capabilities over the last six years. Desmond had set in motion many initiatives to deliver a more robust service, including the multi-year renewal and upgrading of rail assets. Desmond also intensified recruitment and upskilling to deepen the engineering and operational capabilities of the SMRT team, and initiated rigorous training programmes to reinforce the service and safety culture of the company.  I greatly appreciate his commitment to forge a strong relationship with the union leaders.  All of us at SMRT wish Desmond every success in his future endeavours,” Mr Seah said.

Mr Desmond Kuek said: “It has been my privilege to have served alongside a most professional and dedicated team in SMRT, and to have led the company through this critical period of organisational transformation and system renewal. I am very appreciative of the support given by MOT and LTA as we worked hard as one team to drive higher operational reliability and service, especially in addressing the much-needed end of life multi-year renewal and replacement programmes. I am also grateful to the Chairman and Board members for their guidance, and to all my staff for standing together with me as one SMRT family in our quest for excellence. While we have been through challenging times, I firmly believe the company is well-placed for better journeys ahead, and I see this as a timely juncture to hand over to a new leadership team to take the company to its next level.”