Singapore, 16 November 2015 – NTUC FairPrice today announced that NTUC FairPrice Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr Tan Kian Chew will be stepping down at the end of this year after serving with the cooperative for 23 years. Mr Tan will be joining the Singapore Labour Foundation as CEO.
Mr Tan joined NTUC FairPrice in 1992 as one of its Assistant General Manager (GM). He rose quickly to become GM (Operations and Corporate Planning) in 1994, Chief Operating Officer in 1995, Deputy CEO in 1996 and eventually took over as its CEO in 1997.
During his tenure, Mr Tan focused NTUC FairPrice on its social mission of moderating the cost of living for daily essentials. These include absorbing the initial impact of the goods & services tax, launching the “Everyday Low Price” basket of goods and introducing the 2% discount for Seniors (Tuesdays) and 3% discount for Pioneers (Mondays), benefitting over 170,000 seniors every week. Most notably was the role FairPrice played during nation’s times of crisis to ensure the supply of essential products, stabilise their prices and prevent profiteering. For instance, during the SARs outbreak in 2003, the bird flu epidemic in 2004, the global rice shortage in 2008 and most recently, the haze crisis in 2013. As a result, NTUC FairPrice was regularly voted the most socially responsible company and one of the top brands in Singapore and the region by independent survey companies.
Mr Tan is also credited for setting up NTUC FairPrice Foundation in 2006, to enhance the welfare of workers, and to help the poor and needy. NTUC FairPrice has since donated $88m to the Foundation, and the Foundation has since disbursed close to $70m to beneficiaries, touching many lives deeply in the process.
Apart from delivering well on its social mission, under Mr Tan’s leadership, NTUC FairPrice also grew quickly to become Singapore’s leading retailer with annual sales growth from $752m in 1997 to $3.2b in 2014, attaining a market share of 59% in 2014. Profit before tax also rose from $49m in 1997 to $227m in 2014 and net assets of the cooperative rose from $217m to $1.5b during this period.
“I am grateful to have spent 23 years with this great organisation, and deeply honored to have had the opportunity to lead it for the last 18 years. I am very proud of what my colleagues and I have accomplished together during this period; in meeting competition, overcoming challenges and leading FairPrice to becoming a clear market leader in Singapore with a strong social mission. I am leaving FairPrice with a sense of confidence as I am handing it over to Mr Seah Kian Peng who has proven himself to be a very capable and dynamic leader. I look forward to my new career as CEO of the Singapore Labour Foundation (SLF). ” said Mr Tan.
Chairman of NTUC FairPrice, Mr Bobby Chin said, “I deeply appreciate Kian Chew’s 23 years of service to FairPrice, in which time, he has helped to build and strengthen the social enterprise. He leaves FairPrice well poised to continue to deliver significant social good and in sound financial health. He has built strong relationships not only within Fairprice but also across the group of social enterprises and the Labour Movement. He is not only a colleague, but a friend to all and a mentor to many. I wish him every success in his next career and I am sure all of us at FairPrice will miss him dearly.”
“At this time, I am also pleased to announce that Mr Seah Kian Peng takes over as CEO on 1 January 2016. I am confident that under his leadership, FairPrice will continue to enhance its social mission and contribute to the well- being of all in Singapore,” added Mr Chin.
Mr Seah, who has worked in both the public and private sector, joined the National Trades Union Congress – Administration & Research Unit (NTUC-ARU) in June 1996 and was seconded to NTUC FairPrice in February 2001 as Chief Operating Officer. In November 2001, Mr Seah was re-designated as Deputy CEO and continued to be overall-in-charge of supermarket operations. In July 2006, with the announcement of the new Group corporate structure, Mr Seah was then appointed Managing Director of Singapore and was subsequently promoted to CEO of the Singapore business in April 2010.
Under Mr Seah’s leadership, FairPrice increased its footprint in Singapore growing from 99 to 290 stores with the opening of new formats to meet the evolving needs of the people in Singapore. He also focused FairPrice on serving the community, especially in times of crisis, supporting local suppliers and advocating a sustainable way to do business by protecting the environment.
Mr Seah said, “I am humbled and excited by this continuing opportunity to serve the people of Singapore. NTUC FairPrice is an important part of the social fabric of Singapore and we will continue to focus on our social mission of moderating the cost of living for daily essentials while meeting the evolving needs and aspirations of the people of Singapore in this area”.
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