3 retired permanent secretaries join boards of ComfortDelGro and its subsidiaries

(From left) Retired permanent secretaries Chiang Chie Foo, Benny Lim and Tan Kim Siew have been appointed to ComfortDelGro Corp's board and the boards of its subsidiaries.
(From left) Retired permanent secretaries Chiang Chie Foo, Benny Lim and Tan Kim Siew have been appointed to ComfortDelGro Corp's board and the boards of its subsidiaries.PHOTOS: PUB, PUBLIC SERVICE DIVISION

SINGAPORE - Transport giant ComfortDelGro Corp has appointed three retired permanent secretaries to its board and the boards of its subsidiaries.

Mr Chiang Chie Foo, who was permanent secretary at the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Defence before his retirement from the civil service in 2013, joins the ComfortDelGro board from May 1.

He is now chairman of national water agency PUB and the Central Provident Fund Board.

Joining the board of subsidiary SBS Transit on April 26 is security expert Benny Lim. Mr Lim was permanent secretary at the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs and a deputy commissioner of police before retiring from the civil service in 2016.

At vehicle inspection firm Vicom, another subsidiary, Dr Tan Kim Siew, who was permanent secretary for defence development at the Ministry of Defence and an engineer, will join the board on May 1.

Dr Tan is currently senior consultant at the Ministry of Finance and chairman of the National University of Singapore's (NUS') governing board for the Mechanobiology Institute.

ComfortDelGro also announced the appointments of three other directors: Mr Daniel Soh, who was a partner of Ernst & Young from 1990 till his retirement in 2012; Dr Ooi Beng Chin, Chair Professor of NUS' Department of Computer Science, who has a special focus on big data and artificial intelligence; and Professor Simon Yu, who is programme director in sustainable infrastructure engineering at the Singapore Institute of Technology. Prof Yu has extensive knowledge in mechanical engineering and is a chartered engineer in transportation.

Directors who have retired are: Mr Oo Soon Hee of ComfortDelGro, Mr Cheong Yip Seng and Mr Chin Harn Tong of SBS Transit, and Mr Ong Teong Wan and Mr Sim Cheok Lim of Vicom.

Group chairman Lim Jit Poh said: "Altogether, all these five directors have put in 171 years of service to the ComfortDelGro Group and its predecessors, namely Comfort Group and DelGro Corporation. This is indeed commendable and the group is greatly grateful and appreciative of their valuable and significant contributions and their pioneering efforts."

The new directors, said Mr Lim, bring with them "decades of experience and...a keen understanding of accounts and finance, as well as expertise in the various disciplines of legal, information technology, engineering and human capital".

At its annual general meeting Thursday (April 26), ComfortDelGro shareholders raised several questions on how the group is responding to competition from private-hire players, its acquisition of Uber’s Lion City Rentals, and its investment yields in the years ahead.

Mr Lim, who has been chairman since the group formed in 2003, said ComfortDelGro has proven naysayers wrong by posting total shareholder returns of almost 10 per cent since 2003. 

“We ask you to continue to trust us, that we would make sound judgements which will continue to benefit the company and shareholders,” he said. 

Mr Lim said it would not be wise to give specific answers as the company was in the midst of building up a private-hire business, and does not want to compromise any competitive advantage.