CEO's exit leaves leadership void at SAM

The chief executive officer of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), Mr Leng Tshua, 52, has left the position for personal reasons, just shy of a year on the job. His appointment as CEO came into effect on July 1 last year, when he was brought in to replace Ms Chong Siak Ching.

Ms Chong left the museum in January last year to focus on the opening of the National Gallery Singapore.

Mr Tshua, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from the Arizona State University and a Master of Business Administration from William Steinway University in New York, announced his departure on his Facebook page, which states that he left his position at SAM on June 9.

The museum did not release any official statement to announce his departure.

According to Linkedin, he is now two months into his new role as director of Coral Partners LLC, an international marine exploration consultancy firm, which is based in Washington in the United States.

The arts management specialist, who has more than 25 years of experience in various industries, was previously the chief consultant for business development of Asia Pacific at Steinway & Sons, an American and German piano company.

His departure follows the exit of the museum's director, Dr Susie Lingham, 51, who announced in December last year that she was leaving her position after more than two years.

She stepped down officially on March 31 to "pursue personal projects as an artist, writer, educator and curator".

The double departures at SAM have created a leadership void in the top ranks but, according to Ms Lynn Sim, head of marketing communications and international relations at SAM, this will not affect the running of the museum.

While the search for a new director is ongoing, curatorial co-heads of the museum, Ms Joyce Toh and Ms Tan Siuli, will continue to provide curatorial leadership.

Under their leadership, SAM has opened two new exhibitions - Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas, and Imaginarium: Over The Ocean, Under The Sea.

An interim management committee has also been set up, which is led by the head of finance Terence Chong and Ms Sim, who are both overseeing the museum's day-to- day administrative and governance matters.

The Singapore Biennale preparations will proceed unaffected as it is being led and managed by an SB2016 curatorial team, which is made up of SAM's curatorial co-heads, as well as Mr Louis Ho, Ms Andrea Fam, Mr John Tung and four associate curators.

Replacements for both positions have yet to be announced, though Ms Sim added that the search for a new CEO is underway.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2016, with the headline 'CEO's exit leaves leadership void at SAM'. Print Edition | Subscribe