More leaving Borneo Motors

Potential car buyers at Borneo Motors’ (Toyota) Leng Kee Showroom on May 29, 2016.
Potential car buyers at Borneo Motors’ (Toyota) Leng Kee Showroom on May 29, 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

More people are quitting Inchcape's Borneo Motors after its shock retrenchment exercise in January.

This time, senior managers appointed to replace those who were laid off are leaving.

In an internal memo obtained by The Straits Times, interim chief executive George Ashford told staff that retail vehicle sales commercial director Adeline Tan will take an indefinite leave of absence from the company to "focus on her family's immediate priorities". Marketing director Tan Ching Ee has also decided to quit to focus on her family.

Both women were appointed to take over senior roles vacated after a retrenchment exercise shaved 120 jobs from one of Inchcape's most profitable units in the world.

Others who have thrown in the towel in the latest moves include Ms Justine Goh, senior manager of business strategy and key liaison manager with Toyota; and head of Lexus sales Shirley Leong.

The transfer of expatriates from Inchcape's London office to Singapore soon after the layoffs had worsened morale.

Ms Goh, who is responsible for negotiating three-year product plans with the manufacturer, is said to be leaving without a job. Ms Leong is leaving for Wearnes Automotive's Infiniti unit, a Lexus rival.

They follow a number of other employees who had quit soon after the layoffs, including Mr Melvin Low, director of after-sales.

In his memo, Mr Ashford said Mr Alex Yap has been appointed the new director of retail vehicle sales. Mr Yap was previously with Borneo Motors. He left to join BMW agent Performance Motors, but quit suddenly in 2015. His last post was chief executive of parallel importer Abwin Automotive.

Borneo Motors declined to comment when contacted, but observers said the retrenchment had created unhappiness because staff are now expected to do much more with fewer resources.

The transfer of expatriates from Inchcape's London office to Singapore soon after the layoffs had worsened morale.

Mr David Leong, managing director of PeopleWorldwide Consulting, said the latest wave of resignations "signals internal turbulence".

"Usually, it means a misalignment and unhappiness with new KPIs and strategic thrusts," he added, referring to key performance indicators.

Mr Paul Heng, founder and managing director of NeXT Career Consulting Group, said: "Because of changes in working style and culture, some people may find that they are no longer keen to continue as they are not aligned with the new culture. Some could have been poached."

Meanwhile, Inchcape is still on the lookout for a managing director for Borneo Motors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2017, with the headline 'More leaving Borneo Motors'. Print Edition | Subscribe