Singapore Sports Hub to announce Sawhney's departure

The Singapore Sports Hub is expected to announce the stepping down of chief executive officer Manu Sawhney on Thursday (May 25).

The Straits Times reported on Wednesday that Sawhney's lawyers were in talks with Sports Hub Pte Ltd (SHPL), the consortium which runs the venue, over the terms of his exit.

The CEO's future was discussed in a board meeting and it is believed the terms have been finalised.

The announcement comes on the eve of a hectic period for the Sports Hub. The National Stadium will host two-time football World Cup winners Argentina in June, while July will see it welcome European football teams Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan for the International Champions Cup.

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Sawhney, 50, took a leave of absence after an anonymous 26-page complaint was sent to SHPL. He is still on leave.

The letter included details of his business decisions as well as his management style.

Sawhney, who sits on the board of Manchester United, took over from Frenchman Philippe Collin-Delavaud in October 2015. Before joining SHPL, he was the managing director of ESPN Star Sports.

When news of his imminent departure broke, an associate of Sawhney's had told ST: "I understand it was a 26-page rant and it appears Manu was given a very short time to respond."

Another person familiar with the situation said it was surprising that the board would act on an anonymous letter "riddled with factual inaccuracies".

ST spoke to past and present Sports Hub employees, who gave differing opinions of Sawhney. Some said he was aggressive and demanding, while others said he was assertive and fair.

His tenure did coincide with high-profile departures, including Global Spectrum Pico (GSP) managing director Mark Collins, managing director and GSP director of contracts and compliance, Daphne Letournel. GSP is one of SHPL's four consortium partners.

In Sawhney's absence, the Sports Hub said that chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik is handling the roles and responsibilities of the CEO.