Sailing: Search on for Sailing CEO

Singapore's Bernie Chin Cheok Khoon in action at the 28th SEA Games. The Singapore Sailing Federation is looking for its third chief executive officer in over three years.
Singapore's Bernie Chin Cheok Khoon in action at the 28th SEA Games. The Singapore Sailing Federation is looking for its third chief executive officer in over three years.PHOTO: SINGSOC

Federation wants successor to stay for four years to manage Asiad, Olympic preparations

The Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF) is looking for a new chief executive officer, its third in over three years, to replace Lim Han Ee, who will leave at the end of the month.

Lim, who joined SSF in April 2017, tendered his resignation last month and is serving his notice. The 42-year-old took over the helm from Andrew Tam, who quit in 2017 after over a year in the job.

SSF president Lincoln Chee told The Straits Times: "It's an increasingly challenging environment especially for a national sports association like us - we are always trying to achieve good results and have breakthroughs. As we go higher up that pyramid, things just get more challenging... in the end, he decided that going to the private sector was best for him.

"Everyone's cup of tea is different, ultimately we respect what he wants to do.

On Lim's contribution to the sport, he added: "He helped us be more digitally connected and, from a digital footprint point of view, we've done better than before, and (approached) high participation issues better."

Lim, a former national windsurfer, confirmed his resignation but declined further comment.

Chee, who was elected the president last year, said SSF general manager Chung Pei Ming will serve as interim CEO as the association searches for Lim's replacement.

He added that the SSF is engaging the Singapore Sport Institute in its search.

The new CEO would ideally be "somebody who has been a sailor before", added Chee.


Other criteria for the post include an understanding of the local sailing ecosystem and willingness to commit to at least one Olympic cycle, which is a four-year stint.


With Singapore sailing setting a goal of becoming a serious medal contender at the Olympics, Chee stressed that senior officials have to make the same commitment as its athletes.

While former Olympic sailor Tan Wearn Haw had served as chief executive for five years from 2011 to 2015, both Tam and Lim did not stay beyond the four-year Olympic cycle.

Chee said: "We are trying to find people to sign up and be here to help athletes go through the next two cycles. Otherwise for the athletes putting themselves out there, the people they (have been working with) would have disappeared."

But he stressed that the leadership change will not affect the sailors' performances at the Nov 30-Dec 11 SEA Games in the Philippines, where the target is "at least three to four medals".

The competition, with 12 gold medals up for grabs, will be held in Subic Bay.

At the last edition in Langkawi, Singapore won four gold medals (men's laser standard and team, women's laser radial and women's 470), three silvers and five bronzes.

The focus for SSF, however, is on the Asian and Olympic Games, said Chee.

"We are in the midst of that transition, and we also need a CEO who knows how to communicate that and helps us make that transition without losing confidence and support," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2019, with the headline 'Search on for Sailing CEO'. Print Edition | Subscribe