We thank Dr Michael Loh Toon Seng for his views in his letter (Experience in transport industry should count in choice of SMRT chief, April 19).
We would like to share our key criteria and considerations in selecting SMRT's next group chief executive: personal values, leadership qualities, relevant engineering knowledge, track record in operations and people management, and the ability to collaborate with multiple stakeholders. Of course, a key attribute considered in the final selection was the candidate's understanding of the needs of Singapore's commuters and public transport system. An executive search firm was engaged to conduct a comprehensive global search based on the selection criteria.
The interview panel finally decided on Mr Neo Kian Hong as they were particularly impressed with his personal values and leadership qualities.
Industry experience was considered in the process.
The panel recognised that Mr Neo has engineering qualifications and can be well supported by a team of committed and professional rail engineers. As the chairman of DSO National Laboratories and the Defence Science and Technology Agency, he has knowledge and good experience in building strong engineering, system acquisition and maintenance capabilities.
SMRT therefore decided to give the group CEO position to a Singaporean with strong leadership qualities and the right heart to serve SMRT and, most importantly, our commuters.
He also has the ability to keep staff morale high, and unite and motivate staff to do better for commuters.
Margaret Teo (Ms)