The Chinese news media broke the news on Wed (26 Sep) that Mediacorp artist Vivian Lai's husband, Alain Ong, has been removed as CEO of POKKA International. Pokka International is the international marketing arm of POKKA.
POKKA confirmed that it is indeed undergoing changes to its management team in the midst of an internal audit. The change sees Ms Rieko Shofu replacing Ong as the acting CEO for POKKA International.
Ms Shofu has taken over all Ong's current roles and responsibilities while the audit is taking place. She has also taken over Ong’s portfolio as deputy group CEO of POKKA Corporation (Singapore). At the moment, Ong continues to remain as an employee of the company.
"The management change has been instituted to ensure business operations continue unaffected while an internal audit is conducted,” said POKKA in an official statement.
S$1 million to represent POKKA
The Chinese media also reported that Ong's wife, Vivian Lai, has been the face of POKKA brand for at least 10 years. It reported Ong joined POKKA in 2006 some 12 years ago.
In 2012, Ms Lai was reportedly paid S$1 million to continue representing the POKKA brand. According to the Chinese media, this amount exceeded what was generally paid to Mediacorp artists.
Mediacorp did not comment on the matter and only said Ms Lai's contract with POKKA remains unchanged, in a public statement yesterday (27 Sep). Ms Lai is an artist managed under Mediacorp.
Praising Ms Lai, Mediacorp said that Ms Lai is "highly popular" being named at Star Awards 2015 as an All-time Favourite Artiste. "She’s witty, engaging, hardworking and professional and makes a great brand ambassador," added Mediacorp.
S$8 million house
In Apr, it was reported that after three years of house-hunting, Ong and Lai moved into their "dream home" this January.
The 3-storey semi-detached house comes with two domestic helpers. The 3,500 square feet home located in central Singapore is estimated to be worth some S$8 million.
At the time, Ms Lai told the media that she has finally fulfilled her longtime wish of owning a piece of landed property.
Entering their home, visitors will be greeted by the living room which is connected to an open concept kitchen and patio. The master bedroom and Lai's dressing room/workspace occupy the second floor while the couple's daughters' bedrooms take up the rooms on the third floor. They even have a soundproof karaoke room located in the basement of the house.
She even allowed Home & Decor magazine to feature their newly-finished house.
In any case, many netizens are wondering if there is any conflict of interest when a company headed by a husband chooses his wife to represent the company, especially when big money is involved.