Ex-NOL CEO appointed new SPH CEO

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The ex-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) has been appointed the CEO of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

Ng Yat Chung, who was also Lieutenant-General in the Armed Forces, will replace Alan Chan who has served as CEO of SPH for 15 years.

The company announced that deputy CEO, Patrick Daniel, will also step down.

Mr Ng is currently an independent director of SPH. He will become an executive director from July 1. Independent director Andrew Lim will replace Mr Ng as chairman of the board risk committee, reports the Straits Times.

Under Mr Ng’s leadership, Singapore’s national shipping carrier NOL was sold to a French company, CMA CGM, last June, after years of struggling with intense competition. He had expressed regret at the sale of NOL, and had said that he had a “tinge of this ‘sayang’ feeling.”

Led by Ng, NOL saw losses rising to US$460 million, while its debts grew more than US$4 billion.

In an interview last year, Ng, who was at the helm for 5 years, blamed the company’s demise on its inability “to compete on costs.”

The French company, CMA CGM, announced last week that it had turned the company around and made it profitable, all less than a year after acquiring NOL from Singapore.

“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 recently reported that its turnover for its newspaper and magazine business declined in the third quarter of its financial year. SPH said that the turnover for its newspaper and magazine business declined 7.6 percent to S$239.5 million, mainly due to an 8.2 percent fall in advertisement revenue and 5.8 per cent decrease in circulation revenue.