Ser Miang to guard Olympic coffers

Ser Miang to guard Olympic coffers

SINGAPORE - Singapore's Ng Ser Miang has been appointed guardian of the Olympic movement's purse strings.

Mr Ng, who turns 65 on Sunday, was announced as the chairman of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC's) powerful finance commission.

He succeeds Puerto Rican Richard Carrion, who stepped down last year after losing the Sept 10 presidential election to Germany's Thomas Bach.

IOC president Bach, who also beat Mr Ng to the top job in world sport, announced the composition of the IOC commissions for this year on Tuesday.

In a statement issued by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), Mr Ng said he was "humbled by the appointment", but told My Paper that "there will be some work to do".

While the IOC is "in great financial health, with reserves of almost US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion)", he noted that there are also "challenges to the world economy".

According to the IOC's website, the finance commission "supports the IOC executive board to safeguard the continuity of the IOC and the Olympic movement's activities through efficient management of its financial resources".

And few would be more capable in looking after the IOC's money pot than Mr Ng.

Barely five years after graduating from university, he took over the ailing Singapore Shuttle Bus company in 1976 and turned the losing start-up around, despite having no prior experience in managing a transport company.

He was later granted a licence to operate a second bus company, Tibs, in 1982. By the time SMRT took over Tibs in 2001, the company was valued at nearly $200 million.

Mr Ng is now chairman of NTUC FairPrice, the nation's largest supermarket chain which has seen a 100 per cent increase in revenue to US$2.5 billion since 2005, the year he was appointed.

He also sits on the board of Singapore Press Holdings.

Mr Ng is no stranger to key posts in world sport. He was an IOC vice-president from 2009 to last year and was a member of the organisation's decision-making executive board from 2005 to last year.

He played a key role in organising the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, which Singapore hosted.

The diplomat - he is also Singapore's ambassador to Norway - spent seven years as a member of the finance commission. He had stepped in as its interim chairman after Mr Carrion stepped down.

Locally, Mr Ng, a Seap Games medallist in sailing, is the vice-president of the SNOC and chairman of the Singapore Olympic Foundation.

The first round of commissions under Mr Bach's leadership also saw their make-up become more universal.

There will now be two more commissions chaired by women and 22 more positions held by women this year than last year (female representation from Africa increased by 50 per cent).

There is also a significant overall increase in the representation of members from Africa and Oceania.

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