STB chief steps down, leaving a 22-year public service career for the private sector

During Mr Lionel Yeo's tenure, the tourism sector attained record highs in tourist arrivals and spending in 2017.
During Mr Lionel Yeo's tenure, the tourism sector attained record highs in tourist arrivals and spending in 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mr Lionel Yeo, the man who has helmed the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) for the past six years, will be stepping down on May 31.

During the 45-year-old chief executive's tenure, the tourism sector attained record highs in tourist arrivals and spending in 2017.

Singapore also secured several high-profile sporting events such as the BNP Paribas Women's Tennis Association Finals, the Singapore Rugby Sevens and football's International Champions Cup.

A long-standing contract with Formula One for the Singapore Grand Prix was also extended until 2021.

Mr Yeo was also responsible for initiating a number of notable projects to refresh Singapore's tourism scene such as the Singapore: Inside Out showcase in 2015 and 2017, an event which displays the contemporary arts and design scene in Singapore on an international stage.

It made its rounds in major cities the likes of Beijing, London, New York, Tokyo and Sydney.

Under his leadership, STB has made significant moves to support the transformation of the tourism sector, notably in the area of data analytics, digitalisation and technology adoption. A new online platform providing a one-stop tourism resource for businesses, the Tourism Information and Service Hub was launched this year.

He has also left his mark in terms of contributing towards Singapore's latest tourism campaign launched in August last year - "Passion Made Possible" - with the Economic Development Board and Ministry of Communications and Information.

It showcases the resilience and ingenuity of the local spirit rather than just physical attractions.

In a public sector career spanning 22 years, Mr Yeo has served in the Public Service Division, Civil Service College, Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Ministry of Finance, then-Ministry of Information and the Arts and then-Ministry of Community Development.

He also serves on the boards of the Sentosa Development Corporation, Mandai Park Holdings and Raffles Institution.

His next move is the private sector.

"It has been my privilege these past six years to lead STB and work with tourism stakeholders here and abroad to achieve record tourism results for Singapore and position the sector on a sustainable growth trajectory," said Mr Yeo.

Mr Loh Khum Yean, Permanent Secretary for MTI thanked Mr Yeo for his contributions.

He said: "Under Lionel's leadership, STB has worked closely with the tourism sector to strengthen our value proposition and product offerings which has helped Singapore achieve consistently strong tourism performance."

Ms Melissa Ow, currently STB's deputy CEO, will be appointed acting CEO with effect from June 1, until a new chief executive is appointed.