Awwa chief to take over the helm at NKF

Mr Tim Oei, a former lawyer, joined Awwa in 2008 as its chief operating officer. A year later, he was promoted to become its CEO. NKF yesterday announced that he will take over as its CEO from Sept 4.
Mr Tim Oei, a former lawyer, joined Awwa in 2008 as its chief operating officer. A year later, he was promoted to become its CEO. NKF yesterday announced that he will take over as its CEO from Sept 4.PHOTO: NKF

A former lawyer who took the charity Awwa to new heights is taking over as the chief executive officer of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).

Those who know Mr Tim Oei, 58, describe him as a man with a heart for the poor and the disadvantaged.

NKF yesterday announced that he will take over as CEO from Sept 4. More than 50 candidates were considered for the top job at one of the largest local charities.

The charity's board search committee, which comprised five members, had been hunting for a new leader for about six months.

It followed the sacking of its former CEO Edmund Kwok over a personal indiscretion involving a male employee last November. The charity lodged a police report over the incident and investigations are ongoing, said a police spokesman.

On the new appointment, NKF chairman Koh Poh Tiong said: "Mr Oei's vast experience in the voluntary welfare sector will help bring the NKF into a new phrase of development, carrying out our mission of serving the needs of needy kidney patients."

NKF runs 31 dialysis centres and has more than 4,000 patients and beneficiaries receiving dialysis at subsidised rates.

It has close to 1,000 employees and received about $22 million in donations in its last financial year, which ended in June last year.

Mr Oei graduated from the National University of Singapore with a law degree. He also holds an MBA in legal practice from the Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom.

He was the general counsel for Jurong Port before he joined Awwa in 2008 as its chief operating officer. A year later, he was promoted to become its CEO.

Awwa, which has close to 600 staff, runs a special education school for children with disabilities, a home for destitute seniors and a family service centre, among other services.

Mr Oei told The Straits Times that he joined the NKF as it is a good organisation, and he feels he can contribute to its mission. His wife is a housewife and they have three adult children, including a teacher and a lawyer.

Past and present Awwa staff praised him for his contribution.

Former vice-president Anita Fam said that under his leadership, Awwa grew significantly in the number of services it provided, and in its staff strength.

She said: "Tim shaped Awwa and he has played a strategic role in growing Awwa to what it is today. He is also able to bring out the best in the people who work for him, and he is deeply loved by his staff."

Awwa's assistant director of community partnership Pauline Cheah said that during his tenure, the charity started initiatives which include providing home-based care services for adults with disabilities and also an inclusive pre-school where children with and without disabilities learn together.

Mr Keith Lee, director of Awwa Health and Senior Care, said Mr Oei is an approachable boss.

Mr Keh Eng Song, who recently retired as the CEO of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds), described Mr Oei as a man with a heart for the disadvantaged in society.

He added: "Tim is a deep thinker, and he is always thinking how to improve the services provided."

Ms Cheah said Awwa is looking for a new chief executive. Its chairman Janice Ang and board members will ensure that the CEO's duties are covered until then.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2017, with the headline 'Awwa chief to take over the helm at NKF'. Print Edition | Subscribe