The media reported yesterday (26 May) that ex-Chief of Defence Force, LG (NS) Ng Yat Chung, has been appointed CEO of SPH. He will take over from current CEO Alan Chan when he retires in Sep.
LG Ng was formerly the CEO of NOL. Under his charge, NOL lost more than $1.5 billion and finally, to stop the hemorrhaging, Temasek was forced to sell NOL away to the French group CMA CGM in June last year.
In an interview with ST, he blamed the demise of NOL on its high cost structure.
“We have made good progress in that aspect, and every year we’ve managed to reduce our losses. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to cut costs fast enough to offset the collapse in freight rates,” he said.
He further noted that NOL’s past successes were built on being a premium service line with “significantly higher” costs than its competitors. However, he did acknowledge that the company had been “a bit slow and reluctant to change”.
And with regard to selling away NOL, he commented, “Personally, it would be strange not to feel a little bit of regret, a tinge of this ‘sayang’ feeling.”
LG Ng earns at least $16M from NOL
Despite the mounting losses incurred by NOL, it has been found that LG Ng continued to earn insanely high salaries of at least US$2 million a year from the company.
• 2011 – Between US$2,150,000 to US$2,299,999
• 2012 – Between US$2,500,000 to US$2,699,999
• 2013 – Between US$2,500,000 to US$2,699,999
• 2014 – Between US$2,300,000 to US$2,499,999
• 2015 – Between US$2,300,000 to US$2,499,999
In all, he earned at least S$16 million since he took over as NOL CEO in 2011. This is just a conservative estimate. In fact, he could be making as high as S$20 million if his other share incentives are included.
NOL making profits now without LG Ng
In any case, it is interesting to note that NOL, under the new French leadership is making profits in less than a year after acquiring NOL from Temasek.
“Container shipping line CMA CGM posted higher first-quarter profits, helped by a turnaround at recently acquired NOL, and gave an upbeat assessment for the current quarter in another sign that the shipping industry is emerging from a slump,” Reuters reported.
“The French-based group reported on Friday a first-quarter net profit, including Singapore-based NOL which it consolidated in June last year, of $86 million compared with a $100 million loss in the same period of 2016.”
SPH, essentially running as a monopoly in Singapore, should be easier for LG Ng to handle this time.
But if he runs SPH to the ground again despite the fact that it is a monopolistic business, then Singaporeans will really not know what to say about him.
Regardless, he will certainly continue to earn his insanely high salaries, this time from SPH.