NTUC FairPrice group CEO Tan Kian Chew to move to Singapore Labour Foundation in 2016

NTUC FairPrice's group CEO Tan Kian Chew (left) will step down at the end of the year, with Mr Seah Kian Peng (right) assuming the role of overall CEO. PHOTOS: NTUC FAIRPRICE/ST FILE

SINGAPORE - NTUC FairPrice's group chief executive, Mr Tan Kian Chew, 62, will step down at the end of the year after 23 years with the cooperative, it said on Monday (Nov 16).

From Jan 1 next year, Mr Tan will helm the Singapore Labour Foundation as chief executive. Mr Seah Kian Peng, 54, NTUC FairPrice's chief executive for Singapore, will assume the role of overall CEO, overseeing business growth, strategic development and investments in Singapore as well as abroad. FairPrice now has two joint supermarket developments in Vietnam with a cooperative there.

Since Mr Tan became CEO in 1997, he has focused FairPrice on moderating the cost of daily essentials. This includes introducing a 2 per cent discount for senior citizens on Tuesdays and a 3 per cent discount for pioneers on Mondays, benefitting over 170,000 seniors each week, NTUC FairPrice said in a media release.

At the same time, the retailer's annual sales have also grown from $752 million in 1997 to $3.2 billion in 2014.

Mr Tan also set up NTUC FairPrice Foundation in 2006, which has disbursed close to $70 million to help the needy.

He said he is grateful for the time he has spent with the organisation. "I am very proud of what my colleagues and I have accomplished together... in meeting competition, overcoming challenges and leading FairPrice to becoming a clear market leader in Singapore with a strong social mission," he said in a statement.

NTUC FairPrice chairman Bobby Chin said he deeply appreciates Mr Tan's years of service to the cooperative, during which he helped to build and strengthen the social enterprise.

"He leaves FairPrice well poised to continue to deliver significant social good and in sound financal health," said Mr Chin in a statement.

"He has built stong relationships not only within FairPrice but also across the group of social enterprises and the labour movement. He is not only a colleague, but a friend to all and a mentor to many."

Mr Seah, who is an MP for the Marine Parade GRC, became deputy chief executive of NTUC FairPrice in 2001. He was promoted to CEO (Singapore) in 2010 and grew the chain's store count here from 99 to 290. He said in a statement that he is "humbled and excited" by the new opportunity.

"NTUC FairPrice is an important part of the social fabric of Singapore and we will continue to focus on our social mission of moderating the cost of living for daily essentials while meeting the evolving needs and aspirations of the people of Singapore in this area," he said.

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