Pokka CEO Alain Ong suspended in management reshuffle

Chief executive Alain Ong is no longer authorised to represent Pokka Corporation (Singapore) and Pokka International, according to a letter. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - A chief executive at beverage company Pokka, Mr Alain Ong, has been suspended from his position in a management shake-up last week.

Shin Min Daily News broke the news on Wednesday (Sept 26) that Mr Ong, 43, who is the husband of Mediacorp actress Vivian Lai, had been suspended from his management positions as part of an internal audit at the firm's international marketing arm, Pokka International.

A Pokka spokesman told Shin Min that Ms Rieko Shofu is now acting CEO of Pokka International and has taken over Mr Ong's role as deputy group CEO at Pokka Corporation (Singapore). Mr Ong remains a Pokka employee, the spokesman added.

Ms Shofu is group CEO of Pokka Corporation (Singapore).

Both companies are local subsidiaries of Japanese conglomerate Sapporo Holdings, which bought the Pokka brand in 2011.

The spokesman added that neither the company nor its employees are being investigated by external organisations.

Despite the changes involving her husband at Pokka, Ms Lai's contract with the company remains unchanged, Mediacorp said in a statement yesterday.

Lai, 41, has been endorsing the brand for at least a decade, Shin Min said, and the paper previously reported in 2012 that Ms Lai had inked a $1 million deal to be an ambassador for the beverage maker.

Shin Min reported that Mr Ong, who joined Pokka in 2006, was one of several upper management changes that came as part of Pokka's internal audit.

Pokka's personnel changes first came to light last Wednesday. Shin Min reported that businesses that had dealings with Pokka received written notifications about the change in management.

A letter obtained by the newspaper dated Sep 19, said Mr Ong was no longer authorised to represent Pokka Corporation (Singapore) and Pokka International.

Responding to queries, Pokka's spokesman told Shin Min that the management re-shuffle was to ensure that operations would not be affected during the audit.

It could not comment on individual employees due to company policy.

Marketing Magazine reported on Thursday that Pokka has not made any decisions with regard to its future marketing strategy when asked about Lai's endorsement deal.

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