Former civil service head Peter Ong to chair Enterprise Singapore

SINGAPORE - The retired head of Civil Service and former Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office Peter Ong Boon Kwee was named chairman-designate of Enterprise Singapore on Wednesday (Jan 10).

Mr Ong's appointment follows the first reading of the Enterprise Singapore Board Bill in Parliament on Monday, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a media release.

Enterprise Singapore's formation from the merger of two government agencies, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Spring Singapore, to better help local firms grow and go global was announced last year.

Mr Ong will also concurrently be appointed senior economic advisor, MTI, with effect from Jan 15, said the ministry. In this capacity, he will provide strategic advice on economic strategies and policies, as well as champion efforts to enable robust enterprise growth through strong enterprise capabilities, deep and wide internationalisation networks, and strong partnerships with key stakeholders, said MTI.

Mr Ong, who retired from his previous Government appointments in August last year, has spent more than 30 years in the public sector where he headed several ministries as Permanent Secretary, including MTI, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Defence.

His extensive background and wealth of experience will be instrumental in steering Enterprise Singapore's efforts to grow stronger Singapore enterprises, said MTI.

It added that over the next few months, other board members will be identified to guide Enterprise Singapore in providing greater support and assistance to Singapore companies looking to equip themselves with new capabilities, innovate and expand overseas. MTI's second permanent secretary Png Cheong Boon, who used to head Spring, was named Enterprise Singapore's first chief executive last year.


Former head of Civil Service Peter Ong Boon Kwee was named chairman-designate of Enterprise Singapore. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Commenting on the choice of Mr Ong as founding chairman of the new one-stop agency, Mr Loh Khum Yean, Permanent Secretary for MTI, said his breadth and depth of experience will be a strong addition to the MTI family.

"I look forward to working closely with him to strengthen economic growth and create good jobs for Singaporeans," he added Mr Ong himself said: "As a new statutory board, Enterprise Singapore will have to find ways to facilitate enterprises that are prepared to restructure and grow capabilities to compete aggressively. I am confident that the staff and management are excited and capable to meet this challenge."

 

Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of the Singapore Business Federation, said: "As former head of the Civil Service and chairman of the Pro-Enterprise Panel, Peter Ong was a staunch supporter of pro-enterprise efforts and championed the causes of the private sector. As a member of the panel, I deeply appreciated how he used his office to bring a whole-of-Government approach to review rules and regulations that impacted businesses. He won the admiration of the private sector representatives on the PEP. He is an excellent choice as founding chairman of Enterprise Singapore to steer an important Government agency that can make a difference to our enterprises."

Mr Ong himself said: "As a new statutory board, Enterprise Singapore will have to find ways to facilitate enterprises that are prepared to restructure and grow capabilities to compete aggressively. I am confident that the staff and management are excited and capable to meet this challenge."