SPH's first chief executive Lyn Holloway dies at 90

Mr Lyn Holloway oversaw the formation of SPH in 1984 through the merger of three organisations.
Mr Lyn Holloway oversaw the formation of SPH in 1984 through the merger of three organisations.

A respected figure of the newspaper industry and former chief executive of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Mr Lyn Holloway, died on Saturday at the age of 90. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Mr Holloway, a librarian by training, helped shape journalism in Singapore as the managing director of Times Publishing and The Straits Times Press, which he joined in 1961.

Among the many changes he oversaw was the formation of SPH in 1984 through the merger of three organisations: Singapore News and Publications Limited, Times Publishing Berhad and The Straits Times Press group.

The merger brought together the flagship newspapers of different languages under one roof.

Mr Holloway was appointed SPH's first CEO, but resigned a year later, citing health reasons. He later became CEO of Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

Former Straits Times editor-in-chief Peter Lim, who was a colleague and long-time friend, said he was "a true publisher in the best traditions of Western-style English language newspaper and magazine publishing".

He straddled both the business and editorial components with ease, understood the demands of the business and that "in publishing, the editorial content is the key product", said Mr Lim, 80.

While the early days saw journalists using "rickety typewriters and old furniture", Mr Holloway believed that investments in editorial were crucial to ensure quality.

He raised salaries, hired more staff and oversaw the setting up of foreign bureaus. He was also a skilled negotiator, said Mr Lim.

"Lyn left ST group's editorial and other departments much more professional than he first found them; and their people generally feeling they would miss an unusually good, friendly boss," said Mr Lim.

Mr Holloway leaves his wife, Anne Wong-Holloway, sister Hazel Mariot and sister-in-law Suzanne Holloway.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2019, with the headline 'SPH's first chief executive Lyn Holloway dies at 90'. Print Edition | Subscribe