National Arts Council to get new chairman from Sept 1

Ms Goh Swee Chen (left) will succeed Professor Chan Heng Chee (below) as chairman of the National Arts Council with effect from tomorrow. Ms Goh, a mother of three, has been a council member since September last year.
Ms Goh Swee Chen (above) will succeed Professor Chan Heng Chee as chairman of the National Arts Council with effect from tomorrow. Ms Goh, a mother of three, has been a council member since September last year.
Ms Goh Swee Chen (left) will succeed Professor Chan Heng Chee (below) as chairman of the National Arts Council with effect from tomorrow. Ms Goh, a mother of three, has been a council member since September last year.
Ms Goh Swee Chen will succeed Professor Chan Heng Chee (above) as chairman of the National Arts Council with effect from tomorrow. Ms Goh, a mother of three, has been a council member since September last year.

Ms Goh Swee Chen will succeed Professor Chan Heng Chee as chairman of the National Arts Council (NAC) with effect from tomorrow. The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and NAC announced the appointment in a statement yesterday.

Ms Goh was formerly chairman of Shell Companies (Singapore), and has been a council member since September last year.

The 58-year-old said: "It is an honour for me to be taking over the helm from Professor Chan as chairman of the NAC. Prof Chan has dedicated six years of outstanding leadership to NAC, and I am excited to build on her legacy in bringing the arts sector and NAC forward.

"Our SG Arts Plan (2018-2022) sets a clear path for the development of arts in Singapore. I look forward to working with the council and the NAC team in continuing to deliver this plan and elevating the role of the arts in Singapore's society."

The Johor-born Singaporean mother of three studied information science at Victoria University in New Zealand and has served as non-executive directors for CapitaLand, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Airlines. She has worked for various multinational companies, including IBM and P&G.

Prof Chan, 77, has served on the NAC board since 2013. When she came on board, she told The Straits Times that top of her wish list was consultation, talking to fellow council members, NAC management and arts stakeholders "to get a sense of what we should do going forward".

As chairman, she helped shape the council's strategic directions, the most recent being the launch of Our SG Arts Plan last October.

Ms Tan Gee Keow, the ministry's permanent secretary, said: "On behalf of MCCY, I would like to thank Professor Chan Heng Chee for her leadership of NAC since 2013. Under her stewardship, NAC has made significant progress in developing a vibrant and sustainable arts ecosystem in Singapore in line with Our SG Arts Plan, not least in the areas of internationalisation and philanthropy."

Mr Kok Heng Leun, artistic director of theatre company Drama Box and former Nominated Member of Parliament for the arts, said: "I hope this new chairman can be an advocate of the arts, helping arts organisations find support, especially financially. The new chairman must also advocate for all kinds of art - art that entertains, as well as art that questions and confronts."

Correction note: Professor Chan Heng Chee served six years as chairman of the National Arts Council, not seven years. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2019, with the headline 'National Arts Council to get new chairman from Sept 1'. Print Edition | Subscribe