IT MAY be called the Businessman of the Year award but a woman ruled the roost last night when Ms Chew Gek Khim was presented with the top prize by Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang.
Ms Chew, 53, picked up the coveted gong at the Singapore Business Awards (SBA) at a gala ceremony attended by about 800 business leaders in Resorts World Sentosa.
She was honoured for her work in transforming the mainboard- listed Straits Trading Company.
Ms Chew, who is executive chairman, turned what was a staid holder of low-yielding, hard-to- sell assets into a vibrant investment firm with diverse interests. Straits Trading has strategic stakes in real estate, hospitality, resources and investments that span the Asia-Pacific region.
The company has a market capitalisation of around $1.2 billion.
Ms Chew told the gathering: "Coming from a family office, I did not expect to get into the rough and tumble world of business."
She was also presented with a portrait of herself, painted by artist Siew Hock Meng.
Three other trophies were awarded last night and there was a female touch there as well.
Madam Maimoonah Hussain, group managing director of investment bank Affin Hwang Capital, took home the award for Outstanding CEO/Senior Executive (Overseas).
This is the first year two women have won awards in the same year.
The heartland supermarket chain, Sheng Siong Group, won the Enterprise Award.
Mapletree Investments group chief executive Hiew Yoon Khong bagged the award for Outstanding CEO of the Year.
The awards are jointly organised by The Business Times and DHL Express.