SMRT senior exec joins ComfortDelGro in major reshuffle at two groups

Mr Ho Foo Sing will head the bidding team in the company's ComfortDelGro Transit subsidiary. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A senior SMRT executive has defected to rival transport group ComfortDelGro.

Mr Ho Foo Sing, 57, head of SMRT's Circle Line, has joined ComfortDelGro Transit - the transport giant's rail tendering and operations subsidiary. He will head the bidding team in this subsidiary, signalling ComfortDelGro's ambition to clinch more overseas rail operating contracts.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr Ho joined SMRT as a director in December 2017 after a 34-year career in the Republic of Singapore Air Force, where he attained the rank of colonel. He was appointed head of Circle Line in November 2019.

ComfortDelGro clinched a $1.13 billion contract to operate rail services in Auckland, New Zealand, making it the first Singapore company to secure such a contract overseas.

The group has also been shortlisted in two other rail tenders - one in Paris, and another in Sydney.

In a separate news release on Monday (Aug 29), ComfortDelGro deputy chief executive Cheng Siak Kian said: "In the past two years, even as we were busy tackling the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been regrouping and looking at opportunities for growth.

"Significantly, we have started bidding for international rail franchises - something we had never done before."

In the release, ComfortDelGro said it has hired Mr Damian Rowbotham as chief executive of Europe, a newly created role.

Mr Rowbotham, 53, will supervise the group's bus, coach, taxi and private-hire operations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, "as well as look at new investment and tender opportunities in the continent", ComfortDelGro added.

Mr Rowbotham was a senior executive at Scottish transport group Stagecoach Group.

Meanwhile, Mr Ho's position in Temasek-owned SMRT has been taken over by Mr Ng Chan Cheok, a deputy group director of rail asset, operations and maintenance at the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Before joining the LTA, Mr Ng worked at the Singapore Armed Forces and held the rank of military expert 7 - equivalent to a colonel.

SMRT also has a new chief human resource head. Ms Lee Yem Choo, 53, a former SAF colonel who joined the transport operator in 2018, will replace Ms Tan Ai Ling from Sept 1, according to an internal announcement.

Ms Tan, a former veteran at telco Starhub, had joined SMRT to head its HR department after a slew of resignations in 2019.

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