In a letter to the ST Forum today (21 Apr), Ms Margaret Teo, the Vice-President for Corporate Communications of SMRT Corporation, revealed that SMRT had earlier engaged an executive search firm to conduct a comprehensive global search for its CEO position.
She was replying to an earlier ST Forum letter sent by Dr Michael Loh Toon Seng, arguing that experience in the transport industry should have been counted in choosing the SMRT Chief, in light of yet another ex-SAF general Neo Kian Hong who was recently chosen for the job.
Ms Teo said that SMRT interview panel finally decided on Neo Kian Hong as they were "particularly impressed with his personal values and leadership qualities".
In her letter, Ms Teo also revealed some of the key criteria and considerations in selecting the SMRT Chief.
"We would like to share our key criteria and considerations in selecting SMRT's next group chief executive: personal values, leadership qualities, relevant engineering knowledge, track record in operations and people management, and the ability to collaborate with multiple stakeholders," she said.
"Of course, a key attribute considered in the final selection was the candidate's understanding of the needs of Singapore's commuters and public transport system."
"Industry experience was considered in the process," she added.
She said that the interview panel did recognise that Neo has engineering qualifications and can be well supported by a team of committed and professional rail engineers.
"As the chairman of DSO National Laboratories and the Defence Science and Technology Agency, he has knowledge and good experience in building strong engineering, system acquisition and maintenance capabilities," she explained.
She also complimented Neo that he has the "right heart to serve SMRT" and commuters.