Gardens by the Bay founding CEO Kiat W. Tan to step down on Feb 15

Dr Kiat W. Tan, who spearheaded the development of Gardens by the Bay, will step down from his role on Feb 15, said the gardens in a statement on Jan 19, 2018. PHOTO: GARDENS BY THE BAY

SINGAPORE - Gardens by the Bay founding chief executive officer, Dr Kiat W. Tan, will be retiring next month after five years at the helm.

Current chief operating officer Felix Loh, 48, will take over the role when Dr Tan, 74, steps down on Feb 15, said Gardens by the Bay in a statement on Friday (Jan 19).

Dr Tan will continue to serve as corporate adviser to Gardens by the Bay.

The attraction, built on reclaimed land in Marina Bay, opened its doors to the public in June 2012. It has since received more than 40 million visitors.

In the statement, Dr Tan was lauded as a passionate and visionary leader, who was instrumental in the conceptualisation and development of the gardens.

Under his leadership, it became the first garden in the world to receive the Thea Award, widely regarded as the Oscars of the international attractions industry, the statement said.

Dr Tan also strived to create a "garden of wonder" for Singaporeans, which included making 90 per cent of its grounds freely accessible.

In his career spanning over 30 years, he has held several appointments that allowed him to contribute to the conservation of Singapore's natural heritage.

From 1990 to 2006, he was founding chief executive officer of the National Parks Board (NParks), where he focused on creating green spaces in urbanised Singapore and strengthening biodiversity conservation efforts.

He also laid out the master plan for the redevelopment of the Singapore Botanic Gardens and spearheaded its transformation to become a world-class Unesco Heritage Site.

In 2006, he introduced the Singapore Garden Festival and in 2011, helped Singapore to clinch the chance to host the 20th World Orchid Conference.

Dr Tan, who used to be known as Tan Wee Kiat, will remain as an adviser to the NParks.

As corporate adviser to Gardens by the Bay, he will provide landscape and horticultural advice for the upcoming Founders' Memorial at Bay East Garden, the statement added.

Dr Tan described his time at the helm as "a fulfilling journey" and said: "I am glad to have worked alongside an extremely capable and passionate team who rose to the challenge of creating one of the world's great tropical gardens."

The statement added that Mr Loh, who is a horticulturalist by training, will bring with him more than 20 years of experience in park management, horticulture and landscape industry development, and policy development.

Mr Loh joined the team about four years ago and previously served in various capacities at the Ministry of National Development. He was also a former NParks scholar.

Gardens by the Bay chairman Niam Chiang Meng thanked Dr Tan for his contributions in the statement.

"We are confident that his new role as corporate adviser will continue to provide invaluable guidance even as the new management team seeks to further strengthen Gardens by the Bay as an international horticultural wonder," he said.

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