Headlines news of 2008 – “Neptune Orient Lines is cutting 1,000 jobs or 9% of it’s workforce”
Fastforward 9 years later today 2017, “Singapore Press Holdings is cutting 230 jobs or 10% of it’s workforce”
This is exactly the same retrenchment tactic employed by SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung. The former SAF Lieutenant-General only took over SPH as CEO in May this year, after running NOL into years of bleeding losses and eventually selling off NOL to a French conglomerate.
While many National Service supporters may defend that NOL’s failure is resulted from regional competitions in the logistic container market, the fact remains that NOL turned profitable as soon as it left Ng Yat Chung’s reverse-midas touch. SPH becoming garbage is expected.
By removing the unprofitable headcount of it’s core media business and ramping up investments on property divestments, SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung is turning Singapore Press Holdings into Singapore Property Holdings. Unlike his predecessors, Ng Yat Chung has no intention to use the lucrative profits of the property returns to supplement the losses of SPH’s media operations. Why?
Like fellow army general SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek, Ng Yat Chung’s salary is why. The SMRT CEO did not care about increasing train breakdowns, he is focus on getting billion dollar transport subsidies from the government and raising train fares for profits. In fact, SMRT made higher profits in recent years despite worsening train breakdowns. The more profits their companies rake in, the better paid they are. Similarly Ng Yat Chung does not care if the media operations continue or if it is sold, his mind is on profits.
In his recent SPH retrenchment exercise, SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung made zero action plan how he is going to revive the declining media business. Instead, he focused on the 32% net profit growth – hoping that investors would buy in.
Due to Straits Times nature as a propaganda papers, it is only natural that readership is declining. However, Ng Yat Chung is a catalyst to the decline. Under his leadership, Straits Times would very soon be insolvent and sold away in probably 4 to 5 years’ time – like NOL.