Indian self-help group Sinda gets new chief executive

The Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda) will have a new chief executive from July.

Mr Kumaran Barathan, the current chief executive of Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), will succeed Mr Raja Segar as head of the Indian self-help group from July 1. Mr Raja has led the organisation for the last five years and is moving on to pursue other personal interests, said Sinda in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr Barathan said he looks forward to taking up the new role as he has "always considered social and economic upward mobility through education as a lever".

He began his career with the Economic Development Board (EDB) more than 30 years ago. Before joining the SICCI, he worked in the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).

"I hope my experiences in various fields such as public administration, research and with the business sector will enable me to work with community closely, especially our youth to develop the essential skills required for success in the future," he said.

On behalf of Sinda's board, its chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam paid tribute to the outgoing CEO Mr Raja: "Raja has contributed greatly to Sinda and the broader community, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours. He has provided steady and thoughtful leadership, and developed a talented and dynamic senior management team."

Mr Raja oversaw the strategic review of the organisation back in 2010 and 2011 and was pivotal in restructuring the organisation to focus on the key challenges facing the Indian community.

For example, he encouraged more parents to enrol their children in preschools and to be more involved in their children's education.

Said Mr Tharman, who is also Deputy Prime Minister: "Barathan will take over a strong organisation, which has to find every effective way to help those with disadvantages to develop confidence and stride forward."