Singtel's incoming group CEO to meet with key stakeholders to formulate strategy moving forward
SINGAPORE: Singtel group chief executive officer (CEO) designate Yuen Kuan Moon has said he will meet with key stakeholders over the coming months as he formulates a strategy to take the telco into the next stage of development.
Speaking during a virtual press conference on Thursday (Oct 1) announcing his appointment, Mr Yuen said his first order of business would be to work closely with the board, current group CEO Chua Sock Koong and other colleagues in ensuring a smooth transition.
“In the next few months, I look forward to meeting our key stakeholders - our major customers, community of businesses and partners, and the union. A key priority is definitely meeting all our business unit heads across all the various business groups,” said Mr Yuen.
“This will help formulate my strategy for taking Singtel into the next phase of development, which I will share with you at the earliest opportunity.”
When asked regarding the direction he will take at the helm, Mr Yuen described Singtel’s business as one that was “ever-changing and ever-evolving”.
“Technology will be unrelentingly pushing us forward. So there will always be things that we need to change, but there will also be things that are good that we should retain. So I would not just change for the sake of changing,” he said.
Current group CEO Ms Chua pointed to the rapid digitalisation caused by the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the roll out of 5G networks in different parts of the world as areas which could present Singtel with new business opportunities.
“The current situation with the pandemic has actually thrown a spanner to all industries, not just the telco industry. The one bright spot is the adoption of digitalisation,” said Mr Yuen.
The digitalisation of both the enterprise and consumer sectors is now growing rapidly, he added.
“Consumers behaviours are changing, enterprise practices are changing, the pace of digitalisation will present an opportunity for everyone.”
Singtel chairman Lee Theng Kiat said the board had begun the search for the new group CEO about a year ago, engaging the services of a “major firm” to assist it.
“The search took us to many parts of the globe,” he said.
"We were agnostic about who that person might be, (their) qualifications (and) agenda. We were only keen to look for somebody who has got the finesse and posture to take up the role and continue the good efforts and ... the sterling work of Sock Koong in her last 13 years as group CEO,” he said.
Nine internal and external candidates were shortlisted, said Mr Lee, adding this was eventually whittled down to two names, who were put through a series of presentations and interviews with the board.
“I will say that our ultimate decision rests on the fact that Moon (Mr Yuen) is a known entity, Moon has been with the company since the very beginning of his career. And he has exhibited an ability to work at different segments of the entire business of the Singtel group in his entire career,” he said.
Ms Chua will move on as Mr Lee's senior adviser, playing a “tremendous part” in building a bridge between Singtel’s past and its business moving forward, the chairman added.
When asked why she was stepping down now, Ms Chua noted that she had been with Singtel for 30 years, 13 of which were spent as group CEO.
“I don't think I would consider that an early retirement,” she said.
“For a business as complex as ours, they are always exciting things happening, there will never be the point where there's nothing else to do. So I think that the company is at a good juncture for me to be handing on to Moon (Mr Yuen). So I think the timing is right,” she said.
She added that there is an ongoing search for Mr Yuen’s successor in his current role as Singapore consumer business CEO and chief digital officer, and that both internal and external candidates are being considered.
“We hope to make an announcement on that shortly,” she said.