PSC chairman Eddie Teo retires on July 31 after five decades in public service; Lee Tzu Yang to take over

Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman Eddie Teo (left) is retiring on July 31, and will be replaced by current PSC deputy chairman Lee Tzu Yang from Aug 1, 2018.
Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman Eddie Teo (left) is retiring on July 31, and will be replaced by current PSC deputy chairman Lee Tzu Yang from Aug 1, 2018. PHOTOS: ST FILE, PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE

SINGAPORE - Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman Eddie Teo is retiring on July 31, a decade after he stepped up to the role and after close to five decades in public service.

He will be replaced by current PSC deputy chairman Lee Tzu Yang from Aug 1, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement on Friday (July 13).

Mr Teo, 71, was appointed PSC chairman on Aug 1, 2008.

In a letter released on Friday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thanked Mr Teo for his dedicated service and sterling contributions to the public service in the past 48 years.

Mr Teo was a President's Scholar who started his career in 1970 in the Security and Intelligence Division, where he later rose to become director in 1979. He held the post until 1994.

From 1982 to 1986, he was concurrently director of the Internal Security Department.

PM Lee noted that he was the only person to concurrently head both Singapore's external and internal intelligence organisations.

Over the years, his other key appointments in the public service included permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defence from 1994 to 2000, and permanent secretary in the PMO from 1998 to 2005. He was also High Commissioner to Australia from 2006 to 2008.

Currently, he is the chairman of the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony and a member of the Legal Service Commission.

Mr Teo previously chaired the Presidential Elections Committee twice - in 2011 and 2017 - and served as a member of the Constitutional Commission on the Elected Presidency in 2016.

PM Lee said in his letter that the PSC had faithfully discharged its duty under Mr Teo's leadership, "exercising disciplinary control over public officers without fear or favour".

He added that Mr Teo had sought and brought in new commission members from various backgrounds and professions, including three female members, as he was a firm believer in diversity as a source of strength.

"You made a conscious effort to encourage promising students from all socio-economic backgrounds to apply for scholarships, and awarded scholarships to students from a wider range of schools, including for the polytechnics," PM Lee wrote.

Mr Teo also adopted an innovative approach to identifying top talent by interviewing students and making them offers even before their final examinations, PM Lee added.

Under Mr Teo's watch, PSC introduced an engineering scholarship in 2016.

PM Lee also said that Mr Teo had a keen eye for people and a deep understanding of human nature and dynamics to identify future leaders for Singapore.

He wrote: "You recognised that in senior public service leaders, strong intellect and ability were essential, but good character and commitment to Singapore were fundamental."

He added that it has been a privilege to work closely with Mr Teo over more than three decades.

Mr Lee, 63, became deputy chairman and member of the PSC on May 2.

He is a 1976 graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and joined Shell in 1979.

He retired as chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore in 2014 after 35 years.

In 2016, he was recognised by the Institution of Chemical Engineers as an honorary fellow.

Mr Lee is a member of the Council of Presidential Advisers and the Legal Service Commission. He is also a Justice of the Peace and vice-chairman of the Board of Visiting Justices and Board of Inspection.

He also chairs the board of The Esplanade Company, the Singapore University of Technology and Design, and the Founders' Memorial Committee.