SingPost names Simon Israel as new chairman

SingPost names Simon Israel as new chairman

Singapore Post (SingPost) has named Mr Simon Israel, a former executive director and president of Temasek Holdings and current chairman of Singtel, as its new chairman.

Mr Israel, 63, will helm the board with effect from May 11, following a surprise announcement last month that Mr Lim Ho Kee, its chairman for 13 years, will step down on May 10.

Mr Israel will be a non-independent chairman, since Singtel is the largest shareholder of SingPost, with a 23 per cent stake.

Mr Zulkifli Baharudin, who chairs SingPost's nominations committee, said that a lead independent director will be appointed shortly.

Former lead independent director Keith Tay resigned on Tuesday following the release of a special audit report into SingPost's disclosure lapses.

Mr Israel's appointment has received the relevant regulatory approvals, SingPost said last night.

A Singtel spokesman noted that Mr Israel was invited by SingPost to serve as chairman, and that Mr Israel is not a nominee of Singtel.

"Prior to Mr Israel accepting the appointment, the Singtel board reviewed his invitation to serve as SingPost chairman and is of the view that he has the capacity to take on this role without compromising his commitments to Singtel," the spokesman said.

Mr Israel, who retired as president of Temasek Holdings in July 2011 and was appointed Singtel chairman shortly after, said in a statement: "My immediate priorities are to lead the board through the completion of the corporate governance review, review board composition and appoint a new group chief executive."

SingPost continues to search for a new chief after former chief executive Wolfgang Baier quit unexpectedly last December.

The postal and e-commerce group is due to release findings of an independent review into its corporate governance practices before its annual shareholder meeting in July, which it said will address some of the concerns not addressed by the recent audit into its disclosure lapses.

National University of Singapore business school associate professor Mak Yuen Teen said: "This is a welcome break from the past. Mr Israel is an excellent choice given his experience and track record. He's thoughtful about corporate governance, not taking a box-ticking or pure compliance approach to it.

He speaks his mind and my sense is he's not afraid of making tough decisions and stepping on some toes."

The announcement was made after the market closed. SingPost shares closed 1.5 cents or 0.94 per cent lower at $1.575 yesterday.

This article was first published on May 6, 2016.
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