Ex-Chief of Army appointed new CEO of SMRT

Former Chief of Army Desmond Kuek has been appointed the president and new CEO of SMRT.

A statement by SMRT said Kuek, who will assume his new role on 1 October 2012, was appointed after an extensive search and selection process.

The 48-year-old takes over the hotseat vacated by Saw Phaik Hwa, who stepped down in January following a firestorm over the twin December train breakdowns that affected over 200,000 commuters. 

Koh Yong Guan, chairman of the SMRT board of directors, acknowledged in a statement that Kuek joins the transport operator at a challenging time but gave him his vote of confidence.

"SMRT is undergoing considerable change, not just in the way we operate transport services and serve our customers, but also how we will continue to grow as a company.  Desmond has the attributes and proven qualities to lead SMRT through these challenges,” he said.

Kuek joined the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in 1981 on being awarded an SAF Overseas Scholarship.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Engineering Science from Oxford University.

He also holds a Master of Arts degree from Oxford University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.

He was also appointed Permanent Secretary (Environment and Water Resources) in 2010.