SIA chairman Stephen Lee to step down on Jan 1; DBS chairman Peter Seah to succeed him

Singapore Airlines (SIA) chairman Stephen Lee (left) will be succeeded by Mr Peter Seah Lim Huat on Jan 1.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) chairman Stephen Lee (left) will be succeeded by Mr Peter Seah Lim Huat on Jan 1.PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) chairman Stephen Lee is stepping down after a decade at the helm.

Mr Peter Seah Lim Huat, currently deputy chairman and chairman of DBS Group Holdings, will take over on Jan 1.

In an annoucement on Friday, SIA said Mr Lee will retire from the SIA board on the same day but continue as chairman of subsidiary SIA Engineering Company.

Mr Lee joined the SIA board on April 26 2004 and became chairman on Jan 1, 2006.

During his time as chairman, the airline strengthened ties with its unions and continued to lead the industry in product and service offerings.

Mr Lee also oversaw the transformation of the SIA group's business model, which has been enhanced through investments in both full-service and low-cost airlines, joint venture airlines in other markets, and new adjacent businesses such as the provision of pilot training, the airline said.

Mr Seah, "a highly regarded business leader" joined the SIA board as deputy chairman in September 2015.

A banker for more than 30 years, Mr Seah was with the former Overseas Union Bank between 1977 and 2001, retiring as vice-chairman and chief executive officer.

Prior to that he was with Citibank. Between December 2001 and December 2004 he served as president and chief executive of Singapore Technologies.

Mr Seah is also chairman of LaSalle College of the Arts and Singapore Health Services.

"Singapore Airlines is one of Singapore's strongest companies and best-known brands, and it has successfully weathered many challenges under Stephen's tenure as chairman," said Mr Seah.

"I look forward to building on the work that Stephen has overseen during his time as chairman, in steering the SIA group through the global financial crisis, a change in CEO and the implementation of numerous strategic initiatives to better position the group for the future."

Mr Lee said: "I am honoured to have had a good run as chairman of one of Singapore's most iconic companies. I am proud of what we have achieved with the unwavering support of my fellow board members, a strong management team, employees who are always striving to better meet the needs of our customers, and unions which work with management as partners, rather than adversaries. I have an excellent successor in Peter and am confident that SIA will go from strength to strength under his watch."

SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong added: "The management team and I could not have asked for a more supportive chairman over the past 11 years. Without the invaluable guidance of Stephen and the rest of the board, SIA would not be in the strong position that we are in today."