SICC row over GM's 'secret marriage' to HR director

SICC row over GM's 'secret marriage' to HR director

When veteran manager Sylvan Braberry applied for a job at Singapore Island Country Club, bosses knew he was a strong candidate. What they did not know is that he was married to the club's human resources director - who was right there in the room during the interviews.

Now, more than 300 members have signed a petition asking why Mr Braberry - who got the job as general manager - kept quiet about his marital status. They are calling for an extraordinary general meeting and say the case raises questions about corporate governance at the exclusive club - which boasts four golf courses and well-known members such as past and present Cabinet ministers.

Mr Braberry, who had been general manager before, was recruited in August last year after two rounds of interviews by two selection panels. His wife, Ms Ivy Lau, was present both times, but in an administrative capacity.

Earlier this month, president Tay Joo Soon wrote to members, saying an investigation had been conducted. He added that Mr Braberry, 53, had lived apart from his wife since they married in August 2011 - a claim challenged by the petitioners.

After being offered the job, Mr Braberry disclosed his marital status to vice-president P. Suppiah - who then failed to inform the general committee. Mr Suppiah gave a statement saying he took "full responsibility for my inaction, if any". He accepted that he may have made an error of judgment but said he never saw the couple's marriage as damaging to the club. However, the 300 members who signed the petition are not satisfied.

They question whether Mr Suppiah was dealt with too lightly and want access to a lawyers' report on the case. Meanwhile, others suspect the move is a politically motivated ploy to win votes ahead of club elections next week, in which three candidates are vying for the president's post. "We should not use the case as political fodder to garner votes," said Mr Vince Khoo, a member for more than 40 years.

The row follows a turbulent period at the club, which has undergone repeated leadership changes.

Mr Braberry was general manager for several years before he resigned in March 2010. His replacement - Swiss national J.P. Schneider - was sacked when he failed to produce a copy of his master's degree. Mr Braberry was then asked to return and be interviewed for the job.

vijayan@sph.com.sg


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