Singapore Environment Council (SEC) has appointed Ms Jen Teo Pui Heng to be its new Executive Director with effect from next Monday (27 March) to replace Mr Edwin Seah, who was removed from his position as Executive Director.
Ms Teo was formerly the senior vice-president of Great Eastern Insurance as head of a team focused on business transformation and improvement. She had previously worked for American Express with responsibilities across the Asia-Pacific region, SEC said.
Commenting on the appointment, chairman Isabella Loh said, “As the executive director of SEC, Jen will lead our drive to encourage green consumerism as well as our efforts to promote sustainability to communities, governments and industries.”
In response, Ms Teo said, “It is an exciting time to be leading SEC. Environmental issues are now at the centre of Singapore’s public policy debate, with moves to conserve water, reduce vehicle emissions and fight climate change through a carbon price. The need for SEC to be a strong advocate for the environment has never been more important.”
The new appointment follows a series of sackings in the Council that occurred last November.
Former Executive Director Edwin Seah was removed from his post despite being cleared of misconduct.
A few days later, Assistant Executive Director Gerard Christopher and Director of Communications Shirley Chua were also given marching orders without reason.
Both had not been given any warnings—written or verbal—at any time during the course of their employment at the SEC. In fact, just a day earlier at the annual School Green Awards, the duo were praised for doing a good job in organising the event.
When TOC first wrote about the issue on 15 October 2016, it was informed by sources within SEC that the suspension of Mr Seah was the culmination of tension between him and SEC’s chairman Ms Isabella Loh Wai Kiew. It was also said then that the tension was exacerbated when Ms Loh was not asked to present any awards to the winners at the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards (AEJA) event on 12 October.
On 13 October, the day after the AEJA, Mr Seah was suspended from duties and the SEC informed the media that “investigations are ongoing.”
Mr Seah was subsequently removed from his position after a special panel hearing was convened on 2 November, though it had cleared him of all charges. Following his dismissal, the SEC also terminated the services of its Assistant Executive Director Gerard Christopher and Director of Communications Shirley Chua.