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Chan Yeng Kit, Permanent Secretary for Health, to assume role as SPH Media’s new CEO starting 15 July

Current Permanent Secretary for Health and former IMDA Chairman Mr Chan Yeng Kit will become SPH Media’s new CEO from 15 July, succeeding Ms Teo Lay Lim. Despite the successes touted during Ms Teo’s leadership over more than two years, SPH did not meet certain government Key Performance Indicators, impacting funding from the Singapore Government, as announced by Minister Josephine Teo.



Chan Yeng Kit, ex-IMDA Chairman, set to become SPH Media's New Chief Executive, succeeding Ms Teo Lay Lim. PHOTO: SPH MEDIA

SPH Media, the publisher of The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao, announced a significant leadership change to take effect on 15 July, with Mr Chan Yeng Kit appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer, succeeding the retiring Ms Teo Lay Lim.

Mr Chan, who will step down from his position as Permanent Secretary for Health and has previously served as the founding chairman of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), was appointed to SPH Media’s board in March.

His extensive background includes serving as the Permanent Secretary for Defence from 2013 to 2019, Permanent Secretary for the then-Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts from 2008 to 2012, and playing a pivotal role in the government’s Covid-19 response.

Mr Chan will be succeeded by Ms Lai Wei Lin, who will leave her roles as Permanent Secretary for Transport Development and Second Permanent Secretary for Finance on 1 July.

Ms Teo, 60, will depart from SPH Media after a tenure of more than two years as its CEO, having taken the reins from interim CEO Patrick Daniel on 1 March 2022.

The incoming CEO, Mr Chan, said, “I am thankful for this opportunity to lead Singapore’s premier news organisation, one that has left an indelible impact on the lives of generations of Singaporeans. I look forward to working with my SPH Media colleagues to better serve Singapore, Singaporeans and our partners.”

Ms Teo Lay Lim, outgoing CEO of SPH Media, said, “It has been a tremendous privilege to have served SPH Media in the first lap of its transformation journey.  The digital foundation is now in place, and I am confident that Yeng Kit will adeptly navigate SPH Media through the next lap.”

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Chairman of SPH Media Trust said, “Yeng Kit is committed to our mission to help inform and unite our people via quality journalism. Against the competitive pressure from social media, he will support the newsrooms to tap digital platforms to reach new audiences and build a sustainable commercial model. We are grateful to Lay Lim for kick-starting our organisation’s digital transformation. Yeng Kit will build upon the foundations that she has built.”

In a statement released by SPH Media, the organization highlighted the progress achieved under the leadership of Ms Teo.

According to SPH Media, her tenure saw significant advancements in digital integration, enhancing the customer experience and fostering talent development within the company.

The announcement further detailed the initiatives undertaken to modernize SPH Media’s digital presence.

This included updating its digital platforms and mobile applications to better align with the varied content consumption patterns of its audience.

Noteworthy developments under Ms Teo’s guidance included the introduction of new features in SPH Media’s news applications and the launch of the inaugural Tamil Murasu application. Additionally, the establishment of Studio+65, a collaborative video and audio production facility, was aimed at enriching the group’s offerings in digital media.

SPH Media also emphasized the strides made in data integration and analytics during Ms. Teo’s leadership. These efforts have reportedly enhanced the newsrooms’ understanding of audience engagement with their stories, thereby aiding in more informed editorial and strategic decision-making.

Moreover, Ms. Teo’s focus on data integration and analytics has enhanced newsrooms’ understanding of reader engagement and supported informed decision-making, fostering a culture centered around audiences and subscribers.

Funding Withheld Due to Unmet KPIs

Following the acknowledgement of Ms Teo Lay Lim’s contributions to SPH Media, the narrative took a nuanced turn with insights from Mrs Josephine Teo, the Minister for Communications and Information.

Despite the noted progress under Ms Teo’s leadership, Mrs Josephine Teo pointed out areas where SPH Media did not meet the expected Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), influencing the full disbursement of the promised government funding.

The Singapore government’s pledge of up to S$900 million over five years, beginning in 2022, was aimed at aiding SPH Media’s evolution into a predominantly digital news platform. As part of this arrangement, SPH Media committed to regular updates on its performance against defined KPIs.

During a Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) budget debate on 1 March, Mrs Teo responded to queries from Leader of the Opposition, Pritam Singh, revealing that SPH Media had not met KPIs in several critical areas, including digital and youth engagement, reach within vernacular communities, and the average duration spent on its websites and applications.

While Mrs Teo acknowledged the effective use of government funding by SPH Media, she emphasized the need for the media group to redouble its efforts to maintain its relevance amidst the rapidly changing media landscape.

Looking ahead, the Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI) has allocated approximately S$260 million for SPH Media in the fiscal year 2024 in anticipation of the challenges of a more demanding media environment.

To date, SPH Media has received about S$320 million in funding over the fiscal years 2022 and 2023, reflecting the government’s ongoing commitment to support the media entity’s digital transformation journey.

Circulation Figures Scandal

A controversy emerged around the inflation of circulation figures under the leadership of the outgoing CEO, Ms Teo.

Allegations surfaced regarding the departure of three senior executives linked to discrepancies in circulation and subscription numbers.

An internal review in March 2022, covering the period from September 2020 to March 2022, uncovered inconsistencies in circulation data reporting, including double-counting of subscriptions and counting of lapsed contracts and destroyed copies.

A whistleblower accused Ms Teo of instructing staff to keep quiet about these misrepresentations during a town hall meeting, leading to several executive departures and raising concerns about the organization’s transparency and integrity.

Nonetheless, SPH Media, in response to queries from the Straits Times, has stated that this controversy was not a factor in the decision to change leadership.

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It isn’t going to make a difference. It will be better to shut down ST and give grants of $50,000/- to online media like TOC which have been in the business for more than 5 years. Select ten online media companies. The cost will be $500,000/- annually versus ST at $180million. It will be a win for taxpayers.

Off course it is! What else can it be? Nuanced or not!

Luckily we have Straits Times to give us accurate reporting. Many of the social media are spewing out toxic rumors online.

These are the positions created by Sg Inc, within their carefully constructed system, with monies from the people, … to ultimately benefit their cronies and comrades !!!

All made possible by the idiots, imbeciles and ignoramuses on the island, … who can’t claim that they never saw this coming !!!

It’s sickening to witness on a day to day basis, to the point, … where it’s rather the norm now and all part and parcel of SillyPore life !!!

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Musical chairs like their MIW bosses. Same pattern mah.

Looks like it’s yesman-ship enables career advancement.
And ability to POLISH.
Carry balls also.

He looked like another retiree taking over a plum cushy well paid job. Similar to AG office older person taking over a younger AG because the younger AG is retiring? And then the older AG get to serve another don’t know how many years to date