Outgoing CEO turned media group into diversified, resilient company

SPH CEO Alan Chan, who will retire on Sept 1, oversaw the expansion of the group's core media business to multiple platforms across print, digital, radio and outdoor. SPH also expanded its property business under his watch.
SPH CEO Alan Chan, who will retire on Sept 1, oversaw the expansion of the group's core media business to multiple platforms across print, digital, radio and outdoor. SPH also expanded its property business under his watch.ST FILE PHOTO

During his 15 years at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), chief executive officer Alan Chan set out to turn the media group into something more diversified and resilient in the face of unprecedented industry change.

On the media front, Mr Chan, 64, who will retire on Sept 1, oversaw the expansion of the group's core media business to multiple platforms across print, digital, radio and outdoor, and from a handful of magazine titles to more than 100 titles today.

Under his watch, SPH expanded its property business. In 2013, it set up the real estate investment trust SPH Reit, which owns the properties Paragon and The Clementi Mall. The spin-off, via a red-hot initial public offering, brought increased value for shareholders.

In April this year, SPH announced the acquisition of the nursing home provider Orange Valley as the group moves to develop a third business leg, this one in the healthcare industry.

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Those initiatives were aimed at bolstering the group amid the growth of online offerings and changing consumption habits that are challenging the traditional media business.

 

SPH chairman Lee Boon Yang said that Mr Chan had served with great distinction, and noted his invaluable contributions.

"From just a media company, SPH now has a portfolio of retail and commercial properties and had established a real estate investment trust about four years ago, runs an exhibitions and events business in Singapore and the region, and has entered the healthcare industry. We have to credit all these milestone achievements to Alan's stewardship," he said.

 

Mr Chan joined SPH as group president and director on July 1, 2002, before assuming the CEO post on Jan 1, 2003.

He had a distinguished career in the civil service previously, having served as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Transport. He had also been deputy secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and principal private secretary to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Mr Chan, a President's Scholar, won an engineering scholarship and did his degree in France.

He is currently chairman of both the Land Transport Authority and the Singapore-China Foundation. He is also a member of the Public Service Commission and chaired the council that revised the code of corporate governance in 2012.

In a statement yesterday, he said he was grateful to the SPH chairman and board for their support of his efforts to restructure the media business and expand into new sectors.

"I am indebted to my colleagues for their commitment in rallying with me to create value for the company. Without them, I would not have accomplished as much."

Mr Chan said: "After having spent 15 years with the company, it is time for me to hand over the mantle to younger executives."

Lee Su Shyan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2017, with the headline 'Outgoing CEO turned media group into diversified, resilient company'. Print Edition | Subscribe