Manu Sawhney became the new Sports Hub CEO in Oct 2015. In an interview about couple of months into the job, he told the media, “As a proud Singaporean, I thought it was a great opportunity for me to play my part in building sports. And using this facility … how do we help put Singapore on the global sporting destination map.”
And now, about 1.5 year later, it was reported yesterday (20 May) that he was forced to take an “extended personal leave” following an anonymous letter of complaint against him.
Sources told the media that the complaint contains allegations of his treatment of staff. Former employees staff described Sawhney as a demanding, vocal and volatile person. Several also said they would see him having “heated discussions” with the staff.
A Board meeting is expected to be held next week to discuss the complaint made against him.
Hiring of new staff to replace old ones
Since Sawhney’s appointment, many senior management and staff have left Sports Hub, including its legal, marketing, corporate communication and HR heads.
The media reported in Aug last year that the staff at Sports Hub were having “low morale” caused by the lack of communication, and actions by the company’s leadership.
“Since then, there has been very little communication by the leadership. There have been a lot of closed-door decisions, and we have not heard from the CEO regarding his vision and direction for the Sports Hub since he came on board,” a source told the media.
Another said, “A lot of new staff, including senior management, have been hired over the last several months but no one tells us who they are, or what they will be doing. They show up all of a sudden.”
“As a result, people get affected. They start wondering whether the new staff are here to eventually replace them,” the person added.
A former employee said the current leadership has also been questioning present staff about previous management decisions. “My colleagues and I have been made to feel as though we are always at fault for those decisions. This has really hurt morale,” said the ex-staffer.
Manu Sawhney is a new citizen hailed from India
Sawhney was formerly an Indian national. According to his LinkedIn information, he studied at Birla Institute of Technology and Science for his first degree in Mechanical Engineering before going to Indian Institute of Foreign Trade for his MBA.
He started his career in ITC Global Holdings involving in commodity trading. Some time in the mid-2000s, he came to Singapore and joined ESPN STAR Sports, a broadcast media. He later became a PR and a new citizen.
As a new citizen, he does not need to serve full-time NS. However, since 2015, SAF has established the SAF Volunteer Corps (SAFVC).
Mindef said, “Non NS-liable Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) – such as women, first-generation PR sand new citizens – will now be able to contribute to national defence, show support for NS, and deepen their understanding and ownership of national defence.”
Since Sawhney said he is a “proud Singaporean”, it’s not known if he has also volunteered to defend our country by serving in SAFVC.
At least our Malaysian-born MP Puthucheary, who incurred public wrath for equating looking after babies as serving NS, quietly went to fulfill his duty to defend Singapore by signing up with SAFVC. The medical doctor now serves as a security trooper to defend military facilities.