SPH Media Group announces leadership changes at The Straits Times and The Business Times

(Clockwise from top left) Editor-in-chief of the English/Malay/Tamil Media group Warren Fernandez, editor of The Business Times Wong Wei Kong, BT's current executive editor Chen Huifen, and former chief editor of CNA Digital Jaime Ho. PHOTOS: ST FILE, BT FILE

SINGAPORE - SPH Media Group, which publishes The Straits Times, announced several changes to key leadership positions in its newsrooms on Tuesday.

Mr Warren Fernandez, 56, who is editor-in-chief of the English/Malay/Tamil Media group (EMTM) and editor of ST, will be leaving the company to pursue other professional opportunities, SPH Media said in a statement.

Mr Wong Wei Kong, 54, who is currently the editor of The Business Times, will succeed Mr Fernandez as editor-in-chief of EMTM.

Mr Jaime Ho, 49, who was chief editor at CNA Digital, will take on the role of ST editor.

Ms Chen Huifen, 46, BT's current executive editor, will be the BT editor.

All three appointments will take effect on Oct 26.

Mr Fernandez, who has been ST editor since 2012, and EMTM editor-in-chief since 2016, said: "It has been my honour to serve as the editor-in-chief of ST and its sister titles, which so many Singaporeans rely on for credible news and views."

He added: "My colleagues and I have strived to transform our newsrooms to become multimedia news operations to meet audiences' changing needs. This remains a work in progress, and the challenge now passes to my colleagues to take this further forward. I will be cheering them on as they do."

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, chairman of SPH Media Trust, said: "I would like to thank Warren for his extraordinary dedication to ST in the past decade.

"Warren has successfully paved the way for ST's continued growth, both as a news product on multiple platforms and an established brand. We wish him every success in his future endeavours."

SPH Media noted that with Mr Fernandez at the helm, ST has transformed from a print-focused newspaper to a multimedia product that delivers quality journalism across different channels and platforms throughout the day.

ST also received numerous prestigious awards locally and internationally, including Gold awards from the World Association of News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) at the Asian Media Awards 2022 and at the Digital Media Awards Asia 2021 for the Best News Website.

Together with wealth manager UBS, Mr Fernandez launched ST's annual Singaporean of the Year award, which celebrates ordinary Singaporeans doing extraordinary things.

He is also the chairman of the ST School Pocket Money Fund, which was set up in 2000.

His successor as editor-in-chief, Mr Wong, took on the role of BT editor in 2016.

In its statement, SPH Media noted that under him, Singapore's only financial daily embarked on a digital growth strategy, which saw average monthly users more than double and digital subscriptions triple.

BT also kick-started its regionalisation in 2021 with collaborations and events in Indonesia, and reorganised itself into a digital-first newsroom.

Mr Wong led BT's involvement in several major awards, including the Singapore Business Awards, the Singapore Corporate Awards, the Emerging Enterprise Awards and the Enterprise 50 Awards.

He is also a member of the Corporate Governance Advisory Committee set up by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to promote good corporate governance. He is a board member of The Rice Company, an arts-focused social enterprise, and chairs BT's Budding Artists Fund, which seeks to uplift underprivileged children and youth through the arts.

Mr Wong said: "In an increasingly polarised world, the four newsrooms in EMTM - ST, BT, and the vernaculars, Berita Harian and Tamil Murasu - must strive to be the credible voices that Singaporeans trust. I look forward to working with my newsroom colleagues to enable and support them to achieve this."

ST's incoming editor, Mr Ho, will lead a newsroom of over 300 talented journalists, editors and producers in executing the daily's editorial vision, and in creating impactful digital-first news products, SMT said.

Mr Ho was a civil servant with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2013, and oversaw issues ranging from bilateral relations with Europe, the United States, Malaysia and Indonesia to global issues such as climate change.

He joined Mediacorp in 2013 as associate editor, overseeing Singapore news in the TV newsroom, and later took on the roles of deputy chief editor of Radio News, as well as deputy chief editor of CNA International News.

Mr Ho was appointed chief editor, CNA Digital, in January 2016, a role he held until April 2022.

During his time as chief editor, Mr Ho led the team through a significant growth of its audiences, including to the top of annual rankings by the Reuters Institute for Journalism for the most frequently used online news sources in Singapore. CNA Digital also claimed accolades from organisations such as the Wan-Ifra annual Digital Media Awards.

Mr Ho also wrote extensively during his time at Mediacorp and fronted several broadcast events for CNA.

From June to October, Mr Ho was a partner at FGS Global, a global strategic advisory, where he led its Singapore office and its operations both locally and regionally.

Mr Ho said: "I am honoured to have the opportunity to play a role in the next phase of ST's transformation, especially as it pushes its digital growth and takes on the challenges of disruption in the news and media industry in Singapore and around the world."

BT's incoming editor, Ms Chen, has been with SPH Media for over two decades.

During her time with BT, she developed a new beat in biomedical sciences for the title and was the founding editor of its bi-monthly, The SME Magazine.

Ms Chen is BT's second female editor, after Ms Tan Sai Siong, who was editor when the publication became a daily in 1976.

Ms Teo Lay Lim, chief executive officer of SPH Media Group, said: "This is a time of change as SPH Media continues to accelerate digitalisation and carve out a newer and bolder era for our business.

"Wei Kong, Jaime, and Huifen are media veterans with great track records in propelling news products forward. I know that the EMTM group, ST and BT are in good hands. I am excited to work with them as they lead the newsrooms into the digital future."

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