LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong quits; MOT says he will be joining private sector

Land Transport Authority chief executive Chew Men Leong said he was leaving for "personal career development" in the private sector.
Land Transport Authority chief executive Chew Men Leong said he was leaving for "personal career development" in the private sector.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Land Transport Authority (LTA) chief executive Chew Men Leong has resigned, less than two years after he assumed the helm.

In a shock announcement to LTA's staff of some 6,000 people, Mr Chew said he was leaving for "personal career development" in the private sector. While he did not say where he was heading for, there is speculation that he would join the Singapore Technologies fold.

A Ministry of Transport (MOT) spokesman confirmed Mr Chew's resignation, adding that he will be joining the private sector. “A formal announcement on Mr Chew’s successor will be made at a later date,” the spokesman said on Friday (Aug 5) evening.

Mr Chew, 48, was head of national water agency PUB before moving to the LTA in October 2014. Before that, he was chief of the Republic of Singapore Navy, holding the rank of Rear-Admiral. 

He took over from Mr Chew Hock Yong, who held the helm for four years.

The surprise resignation makes Mr Chew Men Leong's stint as LTA CEO among the shortest on record since the statutory board was formed in 1995.

Former chief Ho Meng Kit left in 2005 shortly after the 2004 Nicoll Highway collapse – barely two years into the job.

During his tenure, Mr Chew oversaw the rollout of the bus contracting framework, where the Government owns all operating assets such as buses and tenders out bus routes in parcels for a fee.

The LTA also took a major shift towards encouraging alternative modes of commuting, such as cycling, under his leadership. It recently called a tender for a large-scale bicycle sharing scheme.

During his term, he also grappled with major MRT breakdowns, including the worst one in the MRT’s history on July 7 last year and another in April that crippled three MRT lines and an LRT line simultaneously.

Sources said Mr Chew – whose last day at the LTA will be Nov 11 – was facing mounting pressure arising partly from the persistent rail incidents. He was not reachable for comment on Friday.

But LTA chairman Alan Chan dismissed the talk. He said: “He has found new opportunity, and he decided to take it. He has done an excellent job, he pulled people together – I have seen him at work. I wish him well.”