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Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Gets New Chief

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 20 September 2002

The Ministry of Trade and Industry announced today that from 1 October 2002, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will get a new Chief Executive.

Mr Lim Neo Chian, 50, has been appointed as STB's Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive. 

Mr Lim succeeds Mr Yeo Khee Leng, who will take up his new appointment as the Chief Executive of the new International Hotel Management School (HMS International) Pte Ltd. Both appointments take effect from 1 October 2002.

As CE, Mr Yeo has ably steered STB through difficult periods such as the haze in 1997, the Asian economic slowdown of 1998 and most recently, the fall-out from the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

Thanking Mr Yeo, the outgoing Chief Executive, Mr Wee Ee-chao, STB's Chairman said: "Khee Leng took over the job of Chief Executive in December 1997 at a time when tourism in South East Asia was adversely affected by the haze problem and Asian financial crisis. In 1998, visitor arrivals fell 13.3 per cent, the biggest decline in STB's history. Khee Leng swiftly put in place a recovery programme with a 15-month events-packed campaign called MilleniaMania. This bold initiative resulted in visitor arrivals returning to double-digit growth rates of 11.5 per cent in 1999 and 10.5 per cent in 2000.

"A hands-on leader, Khee Leng had to deal with yet another crisis in 2001. Even as the world economy started to slow down, the tourism industry was shaken by the fateful September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC. As visitor arrivals plunged virtually out of control in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, Khee Leng led the STB into quick action by shifting marketing resources from long haul markets to short haul markets, and putting in place assistance schemes to ensure no disruption to events and projects that have already been planned. The year 2001 ended with 7.52 million visitor arrivals to Singapore - the second highest on record.

"Khee Leng has demonstrated ability to keep a cool head in crises. Under his leadership, STB's internal systems were improved so that they were responsive to customers and the environment. His efforts paid off, with STB winning various awards. In 2001, the STB achieved the Singapore Quality Class Award, the People Developer Standard Award, and received an ISO 9001 accreditation for the Information Services Division."

Said Mr Yeo: "It has been a tremendously rewarding time at the STB. In my new role at the HMS International, I will still be very much a part of the tourism industry. Manpower development is something in my blood and I am glad to be able to take on a new challenge to set up a hotel school of advanced management for Singapore". 

HMS International is a new private-public sector collaborative venture formed by the STB and key members of the hotel industry. It aims to partner renowned hospitality school in US or Europe to conduct in Singapore executive management and master degree programmes, as well as conducting research into hospitality business, catering to needs of the hospitality industry in the region. The team is already in discussions with leading hotel schools in the US and Europe. 

Mr Yeo remarked: "I will have a direct role in shaping tourism training and education in Singapore with a view to establishing Singapore as the tourism training hub of the region. I hope we will get the first of the programmes started in the second half of next year."

Currently the Chairman of JTC Corp, Mr Lim brings to the STB a wealth of experience. After a distinguished career in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), he joined JTC Corp as its Chief Executive Officer in May 1995. In early 1998, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Company Ltd, the joint-venture company that runs the Suzhou Industrial Park, a G-to-G project between China and Singapore. There he played a key role not just in the developmental work, but also in the marketing and promotion of this key project. Between mid 1995 to early 1998, Mr Lim also chaired the Board's Executive Committee of the Bangalore IT Park project. From 1998 to 2001, Mr Lim also served as Deputy Chairman of Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). In addition to his other duties, Mr Lim is currently the Deputy Chairman of Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engg), Co-Chairman of the French-Singapore Business Council, and Vice-Chairman of the Singapore Red Cross Society.

In welcoming Mr Lim to the management team of STB, Mr Wee said: "Neo Chian's diverse experience, especially his knowledge and experience of operating in the key markets in the region, will be a great asset to STB. I look forward to his leadership and contributions at STB." 

On the challenges ahead, Mr Lim said, " I am particularly excited about this new assignment. I am glad that I am in the position to contribute to the tourism industry, a key segment in our economy that can become even more important in the years ahead. 

"In my previous assignments, I travelled quite extensively and came into contact with people from various parts of the world. Many people were impressed with what we have accomplished here in Singapore, especially in places like China and India; and they want to come to see what Singapore is all about. As recent tourist arrivals showed, these are huge tourism market that we should tap, but it will require some re-orientation and positioning of our tourism industry to serve these emerging markets. Regulatory regime would also have to be liberalised to make it easier for more visitors from these countries to come to Singapore. However, we must continue to pay attention to the traditional markets too, especially our immediate neighbours, Indonesia and Malaysia." 

Mr Lim added: "Khee Leng has done a very good job at STB. Under his leadership, STB dealt with the many difficulties faced by the tourism industry in the last few years. It is thus logical that I should build on the strong foundation that has been established. I am glad that Khee Leng is not really leaving us, as he will continue to be involved in the tourism industry in Singapore. At HMS International, he will now spearhead and accelerate our thrust into tourism education, in close collaboration with the key hoteliers in Singapore and in the region".

Profile of Mr Yeo Khee Leng

Mr Yeo Khee Leng has been Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board (STB) since December 1997.

He joined the Board as its Senior Director Operations and Planning in January 1995. He was then made the Assistant Chief Executive of STB in September 1995 overseeing the Marketing and Corporate Services Groups.

One of Mr Yeo's major achievements included an integral role in the successful implementation of the Tourism 21 - the tourism industry's masterplan which aims to steer Singapore to becoming a Tourism Capital of the world.

Other milestones within Mr Yeo's career as Chief Executive of STB include the launch of GlobalMeet 2000 in 1998, a three-year, world-wide campaign, to attract more meetings and conferences to Singapore. This resulted in Singapore being ranked the top fifth convention city in the world by the Union of International Associations in 2000 - a first for an Asian city.

Mr Yeo was also instrumental in the launch of MillenniaMania in 1999. This 15-month long marketing campaign, timed with the turn-of-the-millennium, successfully transformed Singapore into a vibrant city of exciting events and festivals and attracted a record-high 7.69 million visitors in 2000.

The success of Mr Yeo's stewardship has seen Singapore win numerous prestigious, international awards. For instance, Singapore clinched the "Destination of the Year" award by TTG Asia and STB won the "Best Marketing Effort (National Tourist Organisation)" at ITB (International Tourismus Borse) in 2001.

Other accolades include Singapore being voted the "Best Business Destination in the World" by Business Traveller UK, Business Traveller Asia Pacific and Time Magazine in 2001.

Mr Yeo is a graduate of Oxford University, UK, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Engineering Science) in 1976. Prior to joining STB Mr Yeo was with the National Computer Board for 12 years.

Profile of Mr Lim Neo Chian

Mr Lim is Chairman of JTC Corporation ("JTC"), a post he held since 1998. He joined JTC as CEO in 1995, after a distinguished career with the Singapore Armed Forces, having served various key command and staff positions. He was Chief of Army from 1992 to 1995, and last held the rank of Major General. In his tenure in JTC, Mr Lim has been the driving force to inculcate a customer-focused culture, and has been a key mover in several major initiatives, including the development of the wafer-fabrication parks in record time and the development of Jurong Island into a world-class chemicals hub. He had also been concurrently the CEO of the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Co Ltd from 1 Mar 1998 to 31 Dec 2000, where he was active not only in the development of the Suzhou Industrial Park, but was also actively marketing and promoting international investments. He had stepped down as Deputy Chairman of the Economic Development Board in Jan 2002, after a stint of 4 years on the Board of Singapore EDB.

Mr Lim is also the non-executive Deputy Chairman of Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engg), a company listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. ST Engg is an integrated engineering group with a global presence and specialised capabilities in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine fields. Mr Lim had previously served on various boards in the ST Engg group including Chairmanship of Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd, the land systems arm of ST Engg. Between June 2001 and Feb 2002, Mr Lim also served as the CEO of ST Engg. Mr Lim's other appointments included Dy Chairman of the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Co Ltd (the company that runs the Suzhou Industrial Park), Vice Chairman of the Singapore Red Cross Council, and Co-Chairman of the French Singapore Business Council.

Mr Lim has a Bachelor of Engineering (1st Class) from Sheffield University, UK (1975) under the SAF (Overseas) Scholarship and attended Harvard Business School's Program for Management Development in 1988 and the Advanced Management Programme in 2002. He was awarded the Public Admin Medal (Gold)(Military) in 1994, and the Honorary Doctorate in Engineering by Sheffield University, UK, in 1996.

Mr Lim is married with 3 children (2 boys and 1 girl). He enjoys golf, diving, skiing and travelling.


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