See Hip Seng's unit staff hint at leaving if boss is ousted

PHOTO: See Hip Seng's unit staff hint at leaving if boss is ousted

SINGAPORE - Six employees of a See Hup Seng unit, including three executives, have hinted that they will quit if contentious moves to oust the parent firm's boss succeed at a showdown meeting next Monday.

The meeting could see Mr Jimmy Tan Thoo Chye ousted as managing director and thrown off the board.

The employees, who all work for Tat Petroleum, told the See Hup Seng board in a July 10 letter: "In the event that (Mr Jimmy Tan) is no longer managing Tat's business, we are doubtful that we will remain in (the company)."

They added that their livelihoods could be at risk if there was "no clear direction for Tat's future".

Mr Tan, 54, co-founded Tat Petroleum in 1985.

He became managing director of See Hup Seng last year, after it acquired Tat Petroleum in two tranches between 2007 and 2010.

The aggrieved staff, who include chief operating officer Timothy Callery, operations director Steven Thong and the director of the chemicals business unit, Mr Winson Tan, said Mr Jimmy Tan had the foresight and leadership skills to build Tat Petroleum up to where it was today.

Tat, which distributes refined petroleum products, contributed 84.8 per cent of See Hup Seng's revenue in the last financial year and 53.8 per cent of its net profit.

The employees' letter is the latest development in the lead-up to Monday's extraordinary general meeting.

The trouble began after a quarrel between Mr Tan and See Hup Seng founder and former chairman Thomas Lim fractured their business relationship in March.

Mr Lim later decided not to stand for re-election as an executive director at the annual general meeting on April 29 and resigned as chairman the same day.

But he has since re-entered the fray. His son Terence and another shareholder have called for an EGM to oust Mr Tan, reinstate the elder Mr Lim as a director and have Mr Ng Keng Sing appointed as a director.

Mr Ng's resume shows that he is a veteran in petroleum products trading. Mr Thomas Lim has declined to comment until after the results of the EGM are announced.

See Hup Seng shares closed down 0.5 cents at 28.5 cents on Tuesday.

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