SIA chairman steps down after a decade

Mr Seah (above), who is chairman of DBS, joined SIA's board as deputy chairman in September last year.
Mr Seah (above), who is chairman of DBS, joined SIA's board as deputy chairman in September last year.
Mr Lee (above), who joined the airline's board in April 2004, will continue as chairman of SIA Engineering Company.
Mr Lee (above), who joined the airline's board in April 2004, will continue as chairman of SIA Engineering Company.

Stephen Lee to retire from airline's board; Peter Seah takes over as chairman on Jan 1

The chairman of Singapore Airlines (SIA), Mr Stephen Lee, is stepping down after a decade at the helm.

Mr Peter Seah, currently SIA's deputy chairman and chairman of DBS, will take over as the airline's chairman on Jan 1.

SIA said yesterday Mr Lee will retire from the SIA board on the same day but continue as chairman of subsidiary SIA Engineering Company.

Mr Lee joined the airline's board in April 2004, tasked with tackling labour-management relations which had soured after SIA pilots ousted their union leaders for giving in too easily to the management on wage cuts and layoffs at the height of the Sars crisis in 2003. In January 2006, he was made chairman.

SIA said during Mr Lee's time as chairman, the airline improved ties with unions and kept leading the industry in product and service offerings. He also oversaw the transformation of the SIA group's business model, which has been diversified through investments in both full-service and low-cost airlines, joint venture airlines in other markets, and new adjacent businesses such as the provision of pilot training, the airline said.

He will hand over the reins to Mr Seah, a banker of more than 30 years, who joined the SIA board as deputy chairman in September last year.

Mr Seah was with Citibank and later joined the former Overseas Union Bank, from where he retired in 2001, as vice-chairman and chief executive officer. He later became president and chief executive officer of Singapore Technologies.

The current chairman of DBS Group Holdings and DBS Bank is also chairman of LaSalle College of the Arts and Singapore Health Services.

Mr Seah said: "I look forward to building on the work that Stephen has overseen during his time as chairman, in steering the SIA Group through the global financial crisis, a change in CEO and the implementation of numerous strategic initiatives to better position the group for the future."

Mr Lee said: "I am honoured to have had a good run as chairman of one of Singapore's most iconic companies...I have an excellent successor in Peter and am confident that SIA will go from strength to strength under his watch."

SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong said: "The management team and I could not have asked for a more supportive chairman over the past 11 years."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2016, with the headline 'SIA chairman steps down after a decade'. Print Edition | Subscribe