NKF CEO Edmund Kwok presented an appreciation certificate to Mr Ali Abbas, Group Director of Sales & Marketing of Singapore Hospitality Group / photo: nkfs.org

NKF terminated CEO Edmund Kwok due to “personal indiscretion”?

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) announced in a press release the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Edmund Kwok has been terminated with immediate effect and a three-member executive committee (exco) is appointed by the board to assume all duties and responsibilities of the CEO until mid-December.

After that time, the former CEO, Mrs Eunice Tay, will return to take over responsibilities of the CEO from this exco while the search for a new CEO goes on.

NKF stated, “The Board of NKF would like to assure all stakeholders, including patients, donors,
supporters and employees, that Mr Kwok’s personal indiscretion has nothing to do with the
stewardship of our finances. Our operations are not affected by this matter and our services
to patients and beneficiaries continue as per normal.”

Mr Edmund Kwok's name was not on NKF's online organisation chart on 16 November 2016, and the chart indicated the structure was effective starting 14 Nov / chart source: NKF
Mr Edmund Kwok’s name was not on NKF’s online organisation chart on 16 November 2016, and the chart indicated the structure was effective starting 14 Nov / chart source: NKF

In 2012, Mr Kwok who previously was the vice president of oncology at Parkway Healthcare and also had duties at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the Institute of Mental Health had joined NKF, serving as the Chief Operating Officer under then-CEO Mrs Tay and later took the reins in November 2013.

Mrs Tay had taken the mantle in 2006 from then-interim CEO Goh Chee Leok in the aftermath of the leadership reshuffle caused by the resigning of the entire NKF board in 2005.

According to Channel News Asia, Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement about the termination: “MOH has been informed by NKF that the employment of Mr Edmund Kwok has been terminated. We note that the board has put in place plans to ensure business continuity, and we will work with NKF to ensure that services to patients are not disrupted.”

As the actual reason behind the termination and the nature of the ‘personal indiscretion’ were not revealed, this led to many members of public wondering about the true story about the matter.

A netizen, sgbuffet commented on sgtalk: “Indiscretion……?? Is it moral or legal issue? If moral in nature. I think it is too much of a high ground for the board to take. Sometimes the board takes a moral high ground ….which I find often riddled with hypocrisy. It is also problematic in that it obscure what is important in a role vs image they want to cultivate. Whether Mr. Kwok has 10 girlfriends or other interests should be a concern if it does not affect work. If it were to bring adverse publicity act accordingly….sacking him is adverse publicity anyway”

Another netizen, Belinda Tan commented on Facebook: “This the season for firing CEOs? 2nd one. But at least I must say – if the firing is justified, at least it’s better than retaining inefficient or incapable or incompetent ones like within say, within certain places in Singapore. Or worse, gets awards or retired with big, fat compensations or moved sideways to big, fat directorships.”