Top 5 Singapore CEOs spoken about online

A Chief Executive Officer often dons multiple hats with the aim of leading the company forward, playing the role of a leader, a visionary, decision maker, manager, and many others. A CEO’s leadership role entails being responsible for course-changing management decisions and for implementing the company’s long and short-term agendas. The CEO is essentially a bridge between the board and management of the company.

Holding the position of a Chief Executive Office of a large company and being responsible for its business, people, and the future makes for a great inspirational story. This short article features 5 such top CEOs in Singapore who have paved the way forward for themselves as well as their companies with absolute panache.

Before we proceed, it is good to note that this is in no way a ranking of these leaders. There are certainly more such vibrant role models. This is just a list of some of the leaders who have been inspirational in their work.

Piyush Gupta — CEO and Director of DBS Group:

Of Indian origin, Piyush Gupta started his career with Citibank India as a Management Trainee. His acumen for finance led him to quickly rise through the ranks and become the CEO of Citibank, South East Asia. After a 27-year career with the Citigroup, he left to join DBS, Singapore as the CEO.

He is credited with leading DBS to become a leading financial services group in Asia. Accolades such as “Singapore Business Leader of the Year” “Best CEO, Asia Pacific” and “Best CEO, Singapore” adorn this thought leader.

Chua Sock Koong — Group CEO of SingTel:

Chua Sock Koong was the Singtel’s Deputy Group CEO and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from where she rose to the position of the CEO. The Fortune Magazine named her in their list of the Most Powerful Woman Leaders in Business, 2011. She was named one of Forbes Asia’s “Women in the Mix” for 2013.

Goh Choon Phong — CEO of Singapore Airlines and Singapore Airlines Cargo:

After graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Goh Choon Phong handled numerous positions in the airlines sector. He worked for the SIA group for more than 20 years handling operations in China and Scandinavia. Presently, he also holds the position of the Chairman of Silkair, and Chairman of Budget Aviation Holdings.

Olivia Lum Ooi Lin — Group CEO and President of Hyflux Group:

A Singaporean businesswoman, Olivia Lum Ooi Lin also heads the Research and Development function of Hyflux Group in Singapore. Her humble beginning as a chemist, moving on to become the CEO of her own company is an inspiring story. At the age of 15, she came to Singapore and enrolled herself at the Tiong Bahru Secondary School, where she supported her education through tutoring and sales jobs. She went on to graduate with an Honours degree in Chemistry from the Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore.

Desmond Kuek Bak Chye — President and Group CEO, SMRT Corporation:

Desmond Kuek rose steadily through the ranks at the Singapore Armed Forces to the pinnacle of leadership and served as the sixth Chief of Defence Force. Before joining SMRT in 2012, he was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. His educational qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford, as well as a Master of Public Administration degree in Macroeconomics and Statistics from Harvard University.

The life of a CEO is definitely not an easy one. Being strategic, visionary, responsible, and accountable would often leave them under tremendous pressure. However, a true leader is one who overcomes adversities and leads the company from the forefront towards a successful, thriving future. These CEOs are such leaders and their lives and careers are inspirational to many of us.

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