In line with a management plan announced earlier this year, Singapore’s Keppel Group on Monday announced five C-suite level changes to its corporate leadership, as it seeks to unify operations that span real estate, infrastructure, offshore marine and fund management.
Current Keppel Land chief operating office Louis Lim has been tapped to take over as chief executive of the Singapore-listed developer, picking up from Tan Swee Yiow, effective 15 February 2021. Lim is among Keppel’s “next generation leadership” that collaborated on formulating the company’s sustainability-driven Vision 2030 plan, unveiled in May.
In a statement, Keppel Corporation CEO Loh Chin Hua said, “We have been planning for leadership succession across our business units and grooming the next generation of leaders, including bringing them together to chart Keppel’s Vision 2030. The next generation leaders are ready to take on bigger roles and I am confident that they will bring new ideas and perspectives to our business units and lead them on their growth trajectories in pursuit of Vision 2030.”
Lim will be charged with steering the Vision 2030 plan at Keppel Land, with new leaders also named for Keppel Infrastructure and Keppel Capital, as well as at their parent company, Keppel Corporation. The Vision 2030 plan provides a blueprint for Keppel to integrate its businesses into a new focus on key sectors including energy and environment, urban development, connectivity and asset management.
The change in leadership was announced just three months after Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, which is Keppel Corporation’s largest shareholder, abandoned a $3 billion buyout offer for the conglomerate after disappointing financial results for the first half of the year.
Shares in Keppel Corporation, which controls Keppel Land and Keppel Infrastructure, as well as the sponsor of Keppel DC REIT, have been regaining value this month, climbing to S$5.22 per share today after falling as low as S$4.10 per share on 25 September. In the 30 days before Temasek aborted its offer in August, Keppel shares had traded at as much as S$6.16 per share.
New Direction, New CEO
Now 48, Lim joined Keppel Group in 2016 in the role of director of group strategy and development at Keppel Corporation, as well as managing director of Keppel Technology and Innovation. Before that, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate spent 18 years at Bain & Company, where he headed the firm’s consumer products and retail practice and was active in recruitment. Lim also holds an MBA from INSEAD.
Tan will move on to a position as senior managing director of urban development and retain his board seats at Keppel Land and Keppel REIT Management. Ben Lee, currently president of Keppel Land China, will step up to chief operating officer at Keppel Land.
In addition to the management moves at Keppel’s real estate development unit, the group also set up new leadership for its Keppel DC REIT. Chua Hsien Yang will be leaving his position as chief executive of the data centre trust in favour of current deputy CEO and head of investment, Anthea Lee.
Twenty-year real estate veteran Lee, 46, comes to the job with 14 years of experience in listed trusts. Since 2018 she has been with the $2.9 billion Keppel REIT, where she oversees investments and asset management. She previously held the post of vice president of investment at Keppel REIT Management with a focus on regional investments and divestments.
A degree holder from both the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, Lee spent 10 years with state industrial developer JTC Corporation and developer Ascendas (now part of CapitaLand) before joining Keppel in 2006. Lee’s appointment is subject to regulatory approval.
Chua, who guided the DC REIT to 323 percent unitholder returns since its 2014 listing, will become Keppel Corporation’s director of group M&A, spearheading a strategy refocused on sustainable urbanisation.
New Leaders in Fund Management, Infrastructure Units
Along with Lim and Lee, Keppel is promoting a pair of upper management figures within its infrastructure and fund management businesses.
Cindy Lim, currently Keppel Corporation’s director of group corporate development and managing director of Keppel Urban Solutions, will take the reins of Keppel Infrastructure from outgoing CEO Ong Tiong Guan. Ong is retiring to an advisory position but will remain on Keppel Infrastructure’s board.
Bridget Lee, CEO of Keppel Capital Alternative Asset (KCAA), will add COO of Keppel Capital to her job description.