Jesline Goh is stepping down as chief investment and asset officer of Singaporean developer UOL Group after nearly five years on the job, with her last day set for 11 September, according to an SGX announcement late Friday.
Now 49, Goh is leaving “to attend to personal commitments”, UOL said, with the company promoting Neo Soon Hup, a long-time director of its Pan Pacific Hotels unit, to group chief operating officer at the same time that Goh’s departure was revealed.
Controlled by Singaporean tycoon Wee Cho Yaw, who also heads UOB bank, UOL announced the changes to its leadership team within minutes of reporting that its net profit attributable to equity holders had quadrupled to S$371 million ($270 million) in the first half of this year on improving property development and hotel operations.
Former CapitaLand, Keppel REIT Exec
Goh is leaving the firm more than three years after being promoted to chief investment and asset officer in January 2019 in a role where she has been responsible for investments, asset management and operation of the company’s commercial and residential portfolio.
When UOL placed the winning S$671.5 million (then $489.6 million) bid for a residential project in Singapore’s Clementi area during June, Goh acted as company spokesperson in explaining the developer’s plans for the 520-unit residential development. She also spoke for UOL in October last year when the developer won a Bukit Timah site with a S$550.8 million bid.
The National University of Singapore graduate started with UOL in October of 2017 as senior general manager for asset management and marketing.
Prior to joining UOL Goh had served a one-month stint at chief executive of the manager of Keppel REIT, having started her leadership of the SGX-listed REIT on 1 February 2017, before her resignation was announced on the first day of the following month.
Before signing up with Keppel REIT, Goh had served as deputy CEO of Perennial Real Estate (since privatised and renamed as Perennial Holdings) from 2013 through 2016. Her stay at the developer controlled by Kuok Khoon Hua followed an 11-year stint at the manager of CapitaLand Mall Trust, before that SGX-listed retail REIT merged into CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust in 2020.
Since the start of 2021, Goh led successful tenders for S$2.25 billion in development sites in Singapore, which helped the developer to replenish its land bank and development pipeline, according to Mingtiandi’s archives.
In June, UOL, together with its Singapore Land Group subsidiary, won a Pine Grove residential site for S$671.5 million, with that land sale victory following soon after SingLand won regulatory approval to redevelop its Raffles Place headquarters into a new tower that could go as high as 50 floors.
In October of last year, UOL and SingLand had teamed up to purchase via a collective sale a residential site in Bukit Timah for S$550.8 million, with that deal coming just five months after the two companies had teamed up with Kheng Leong, a private real estate business controlled by UOL’s Wee, to purchase an Ang Mo Kio site for S$381.4 million.
With Goh soon to leave the company, Neo will take on the COO role from 1 September, where he will continue to manage UOL’s portfolio of hotels, while also taking on responsibility for management of the company’s commercial portfolio, which includes a set of office and retail properties in Singapore.
UOL said that Neo, now 55, will also be responsible for business development of the group.
After joining Pan Pacific Hotels in 2003, Neo currently serves as COO of the hospitality operator – a role he was appointed to in March 2020. Having also previously served as Pan Pacific’s chief financial officer, Neo, is also a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
UOL’s leadership change comes after the listed firm posted S$371 million in net profit attributable to its owners in the first half, which represented a 306 percent surge from the S$91.3 million it achieved during the same period a year ago.
Thanks to a rebound in its property development and hospitality businesses, UOL’s overall revenue jumped to S$1.53 billion in the first six months of the year, which was up 36 percent year on year. The income upswing was led by a 45 percent jump in property development revenue, which reached S$1 billion on rising residential sales.
Helped by the May reopening of its 583-room flagship Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay hotel in Singapore and the reopening of international borders, revenues from the group’s hospitality arm grew by 64 percent in the first half to reach S$206 million.
Revenue from the group’s investment properties dipped by 1 percent to S$248 million in the first half as SingLand’s trophy asset, Singapore Land Tower in Raffles Place, undergoes major renovations.
“We are pleased with the strong set of results in the first half year, reflecting the healthy sales momentum of our residential inventory as well as timely refurbishment and opening of our hotels,” UOL group CEO Liam Wee Sin said in a statement on Friday. “However, we remain cautiously optimistic about the outlook amid rising inflation and the consequent tightening of monetary conditions.