From policeman to head of civil service

Mr Leo Yip Seng Cheong
Mr Leo Yip Seng Cheong

Mr Leo Yip Seng Cheong

Head, Civil Service

Permanent Secretary,

Prime Minister's Office

Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister's Office (Strategy)

Permanent Secretary, National Security and Intelligence Coordination

Meritorious Service Medal

More than 30 years ago, Mr Leo Yip started his career in the public service as a policeman investigating crimes.

Since then, he has influenced policy in a variety of government ministries and statutory boards. He was appointed head of the civil service in September last year.

Mr Yip, 54, one of six people to be given the Meritorious Service Medal at this year's National Day Awards, said he was "humbled and honoured" by the accolade.

He said the award is a recognition of the hard work of people in the public service. "They serve Singapore every day in so many different ways - keeping fellow Singaporeans safe and secure, developing our economy, developing a productive workforce and so on."

When he was with the Singapore Police Force, which he joined after obtaining a Cambridge economics degree, he held a series of policy, planning and command appointments.

He became principal private secretary to then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 2000, then joined the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) as deputy secretary in charge of policy and development in 2002.

At MOM, he helped to establish the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), which was set up in 2003. He was then appointed WDA's chief executive until June 2005, a position he held while playing his MOM role.

In July 2005, he became permanent secretary at MOM, and held the post until 2009. He then served as chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB) and EDB Investments until 2014.

In 2014, he was appointed permanent secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). In 2016, he was also appointed permanent secretary at the Prime Minister's Office and the National Security and Intelligence Coordination.

Mr Yip relinquished his MHA portfolio in August last year before stepping up as head of the civil service. He was also made permanent secretary at the PMO (Strategy Group) at that time.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2018, with the headline 'From policeman to head of civil service'. Subscribe