SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming steps down as CEO of oil & gas company to focus on SMRT

He wants to focus on his work at the very beleaguered transport operator.

Sulaiman Daud | December 05, 2017, 06:29 PM

Can someone lead two companies at the same time? It seems like the answer is no, if one of those companies happens to be SMRT.

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, local oil and gas company Pavilion Energy announced that its CEO Seah Moon Ming, who also happens to be Chairman at SMRT (yes, that SMRT), will by end-January next year step down from his post at the firm.

He will retain his role until he is replaced on Feb. 1, 2018.

You might remember Seah's name — we first met him in the middle of October at a long-awaited press conference on the Oct. 7 Bishan tunnel flooding incident, where he was the only high-ranking SMRT official to bow in apology for what happened.

You can read part of the statement below, and the full statement here:

"Pavilion Energy has announced that Mr. Frédéric Barnaud will succeed Mr. Seah Moon Ming as CEO of both Pavilion Energy and its subsidiary, Pavilion Gas, on 1 February 2018.

Pavilion Energy Chairman, Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican, thanked Mr. Seah for the pivotal role he played in the creation and success of the company, and expressed his confidence that the Group would transition well to its new leadership."

Priority: SMRT

The company's chairman, Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican, gave Seah a glowing tribute in the announcement, but also mentioned Seah's intention to focus on SMRT upon his appointment as its Chairman:

"When he was appointed as Chairman of SMRT Corp in July, Moon Ming had indicated his wish to devote more of his time and focus his attention to this new role, once a suitable successor (for him as CEO) had been identified.

The Board then embarked on a global search to identify a suitable candidate to take Pavilion Energy forward on its next phase of growth. We were delighted that Frédéric has agreed to join the company. The Board is confident that Moon Ming leaves the Group in a strong position, and the Group will transit to new leadership well based on these solid foundations."


Responding to the announcement, Seah said he was grateful for support from his team and board that allowed him to build up the company from scratch:

"I am especially grateful for the support the Board has extended to me as well as the hard work of a team of colleagues. Their support and hard work had enabled me to build Pavilion Energy from scratch to where it is today. I know they will give Frédéric the same level of support to bring the Group to the next phase of its growth. We are at the centre of a growing LNG market, underpinned by China, India and Southeast Asia. I am confident that the Group will continue to do well."

SMRT "pleased" by change

Responding to the announcement, a spokesperson for SMRT said it is pleased to hear that Seah will be prioritising his work at the company — certainly at a time when, well, good leadership is sorely needed.

Here's their full statement:

"SMRT is pleased that Mr Seah Moon Ming, Chairman SMRT Corp and SMRT Trains, had planned to prioritise more time as an active Chairman at SMRT when he took on chairmanship of SMRT in mid-2017.

Under the guidance of Mr Seah and our Board, SMRT remains focused on delivering key initiatives such as asset renewal efforts, while it continues its multi-year effort to strengthen management, operations and maintenance teams, and build robust engineering and operational capabilities for future needs.

These initiatives aim to achieve higher reliability, availability, maintainability, safety and security, not just to address the challenges of an ageing system, but to deliver continually over the life of key critical infrastructure like the MRT system.

The Board, CEO and management of SMRT welcome the opportunity to work even more closely with Mr Seah from 1 Feb 2018, when he is scheduled to relinquish his position as CEO of Pavilion Energy.

The SMRT Board, management and staff are committed to work with various key stakeholders to deliver a safe, reliable and efficient service to commuters."

Top image by Sulaiman Daud

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