SINGAPORE'S Ng Ser Miang will continue to play a key role in the International Olympic Committee (IOC), after being appointed chair of its finance commission yesterday.
The 65-year-old had served as IOC vice-president from 2009 until last year, and was also on its executive board for a full eight-year term before stepping down last September.
He now takes over from Puerto Rican Richard Carrion and is tasked with managing and growing the IOC's financial reserves, which amount to about US$932 million (S$1.17 billion).
"I'm privileged to be asked by (IOC) president Thomas Bach to chair the finance commission," Mr Ng told The Straits Times yesterday. "This is a big job which I will be devoting a lot of time to."
The Singaporean had already been serving as the finance commission's interim chief after Mr Carrion resigned from the post last September. Both men ran for the IOC presidency, but lost out to hot favourite Mr Bach.
This appointment means Mr Ng now holds arguably the most prominent IOC position among the five candidates who ran against Mr Bach.
Chinese Taipei's Wu Ching-kuo and former pole vaulter Sergey Bubka are still serving their first terms on the IOC executive board, while Mr Denis Oswald is a member of the IOC's juridical, medical and sport and law commissions.
Under the watch of former president Jacques Rogge, the IOC experienced unprecedented financial growth. Its finances have grown from just over US$100 million in 2001 to over US$900 million now, primarily from revenue from broadcast and sponsorship deals.
With the IOC having recently negotiated a record US$4.38 billion deal with American broadcaster NBC for TV rights in the United States through to the 2020 Olympics, Mr Ng takes over at a time when the IOC's stock is at an all-time high.
Nevertheless, he insisted that challenges abound in his new IOC role.
"We are in a very strong and comfortable financial position, but we're also aware that the world economic situation is still not as stable and there remain risks," he said.
"It's not going to be smooth-sailing, for sure. There will still be a lot of challenges."
Mr Ng has been instrumental in bringing several major sporting events to Singapore while serving in the IOC, including the IOC session in 2005 in which London was chosen as host city for the 2012 Olympics, and the inaugural edition of the Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
He added that he remains committed to supporting the development of sports in Singapore.
This article was published on April 3 in The Straits Times.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.