Ng Yat Chung, a former army general who previously lost Singapore’s national shipping company, Neptune Orient Line (NOL), when he was CEO, found a new position under the government-controlled media corporation Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). Ng Yat Chung will become an “independent director” starting August 1st.
In July 2015, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund company Temasek Holdings put up its 65% stake of the heavily-indebted and bleeding national shipping line, Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), and sold it to a French shipping line, CMA CGM. Under CEO Ng Yat Chung, NOL lost for the past 3 years as the worldwide shipping industry sees falling freight rates. In 2014, it lost S$260 million, the largest ever after 2013’s S$76 million loss.
Like fellow former army general SMRT CEO Desmond Kwek who ran the national public transport operator from a private entity into nationalisation to solve the persistent train breakdown problems, Ng Yat Chung ran NOL into huge losses and lost the company. Both former army generals had zero experience in the private sector before they were “parachuted” into the CEO positions.
SPH is currently seeing declining profits and will likely to perform worse with Ng Yat Chung on board. Singapore ranks 6th in the world for crony capitalism.